Jodhpur: The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Monday inducted the first fleet of indigenously built Light Combat Helicopter (LCH).
Developed by state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the 5.8-tonne twin-engine gunship chopper is armed with air-to-air missiles, 20mm turret guns, rocket systems and other weapons.
The fleet comprising four helicopters was inducted at a ceremony at the air force station here in the presence of Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Anil Chauhan, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and other senior military officers.
The defence minister named the helicopter ‘Prachand’ (fierce) and said the platform, capable of operating in day and night, will add a significant edge to the IAF’s combat capabilities.
The LCH has been developed primarily for mountain warfare after a requirement for it was felt during the Kargil War in 1999.
The indigenously developed multi-role attack helicopter is equipped with advanced avionics and lethal weapon systems while its narrow fuselage with tandem cockpit configuration makes it an extremely manoeuvrable and agile platform to undertake offensive operations in high-altitude regions like Ladakh and Siachen.
After flying a sortie in one of the choppers, the Defence Minister said the Prachand will send out a message to India's adversaries and that the lethal all-terrain platform has export potential.