The Indian Army is all set to receive its second LCH (Light Combat Helicopter), sources told the Financial Express Online on Monday. The development comes on a day when four indigenously-build LCHs christened ‘Prachand’ were inducted in the Indian Air Force in Jodhpur.
According to sources in the defence establishment, the Indian Army will receive four more indigenous combat helicopters later this month. “The helicopters will provide support to ground operations,” explained the source quoted above.
Financial Express Online had reported last week that the Indian Army had received its first LCH on September 29 last month. Out of the 15 LCH which have been contracted, ten will go to the IAF and the balance five will be handed over to the Army. The Limited Series Production (LSP) was formally inaugurated in August 2017 and the maiden ground run of this machine for the Indian Army was done last year in November.
The first squadron of the LCH in the Indian Army started earlier this year in June and so far has received one helicopter and soon the deliveries of the balance four will be made taking the total number to five. Once the deliveries are completed, according to sources the first squadron will be operationalised by next month in the Eastern Theatre.
According to the Ministry of Defence, the LSP has 45 percent indigenous content by value, and this is expected to go up to 55 percent for the SP version. These machines have been developed, designed, and produced locally in India at the facility in Bengaluru of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
LCH & IAF
The helicopters inducted today have been named “Prachand” which means fierce. At the induction ceremony of these helicopters, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhary, Chief of Air Staff said that the helicopters add unique capability to the IAF’s combat potential.
According to him the offensive and versatility potential of these machines is at par than most of the attack helicopters which are operating globally. These helicopters have joined 143 Helicopter Unit and the crew has been selected based on their professional competence so that the unit can be operationalised at the earliest.