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Here's all you need to know about LCH

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 03, Oct 2022, 13:58 pm IST | UPDATED: 03, Oct 2022, 13:59 pm IST

Here's all you need to know about LCH The first batch of indigenously-developed Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) is finally inducted into the IAF fleet at a ceremony in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur today. This will provide a boost to the Indian Air Force's combat prowess, said Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh who led the induction ceremony and has played a crucial role in progressing cases for buying indigenous platforms for forces. The new chopper inducted into the force is capable of aerial combat and will help the force combat slow-moving aircraft, drones, and armored columns during conflicts. LCH has been developed primarily for mountain warfare after a requirement for it was felt during the Kargil war in 1999.

Developed by the state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the 5.8-tonne twin-engine gunship chopper is armed with air-to-air missiles, 20 mm turret guns, rocket systems and other weapons. The fleet comprising four helicopters was inducted into the IAF at a ceremony at the Jodhpur Air Force Station in presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and other senior military officials.

The choppers have been flown extensively in Ladakh and the desert sector to meet the requirements of the armed forces. The IAF has inducted multiple helicopters to its fleet in the last three-four years with the induction of the Chinooks, Apache attack helicopters, and now the LCHs. The IAF is now also deploying women pilots in Chinook choppers carrying routine supply missions to the northern and eastern borders. 

CCS met under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 30, 2022, in New Delhi. The CCS has approved the procurement of 15 Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Limited Series Production at the cost of Rs 3,887 Cr along with Infrastructure sanctions worth Rs 377 crore. Light Combat Helicopter Limited Series Production (LSP) is an indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured state-of-the-art modern combat helicopter containing approx. 

This helicopter is equipped with requisite agility, manoeuvrability, extended range, high altitude performance, and around-the-clock, all-weather combat capability to perform roles of Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Destruction of Enemy Air Defence (DEAD), Counter Insurgency (CI) operations, against slow-moving aircraft and Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAs), high altitude bunker busting operations, Counter Insurgency operations in the jungle and urban environments and support to ground forces and would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of Indian Air Force and Indian Army.

State-of-the-art technologies and systems compatible with stealth features such as reduced Visual, Aural, Radar, and IR signatures and crashworthiness features for better survivability have been integrated into LCH for deployment in combat roles catering to emerging needs for the next 3 to 4 decades. Several key aviation technologies like Glass Cockpit and composite airframe structures have been indigenised. 

The manufacturing of LCH by HAL will give a further push to the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative and boost the indigenisation of defence production and the defence industry in the country. LCH will reduce import dependence on Combat helicopters in the country. Light Combat Helicopters are already on the import embargo list. With its versatile features built-in for combat missions, LCH has export capability. 

It is a momentous occasion reflecting India's capability in defence production," Singh said. The LCH would be effective in hitting enemy infantry, tanks, bunkers, drones and other assets in high-altitude regions, military officials said. "Subsequently, the IAF and HAL began exploring the possibility of developing the platform with a capacity to carry an adequate weapon load, sufficient fuel and still be capable of operating in the higher reaches of the Himalayan ranges," said an official.