Indian Air Force inducts first indigenous Light Combat Helicopter Unit 'Dhanush'

The Helicopters have been christened as Prachand. The ceremony was presided over by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in the presence of the Air Chief.

Published: 03rd October 2022 11:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd October 2022 04:15 PM   |  A+A-

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan  and others during a ceremony to induct the first batch of indigenously developed LCH. (Photo | PTI)

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan and others during a ceremony to induct the first batch of indigenously developed LCH. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

JODHPUR: The Indian Air Force inducts its first Unit of the indigenous Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) at Jodhpur, Rajasthan on Monday.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the Air Force saying the role of the IAF will be more effective after this induction. "Since long the requirements of indigenous attack helicopters was felt." He said.

Rajnath Singh said, "The LCH is capable of dodging the enemy, carrying a variety of ammunition, and delivering it to the site quickly. This LCH perfectly meets the needs of our armed forces in various terrains. In such a situation, LCH is an ideal platform for both our Army and Airforce."

The recent Ukrainian Conflict, or the many conflicts that preceded it, teaches us that heavy weapon systems and platforms, which are unable to move rapidly in the battlefield, have low capability, and sometimes they are capable of attacking enemies. become easy targets for, Defense Minister pointed.

The Unit which will comprise of 10 Make-in-India multi-role attack helicopters based at the Jodhpur Air Force Station have been named the 143 Helicopter Unit (Dhanush). The Helicopters have been christened as Prachand. The ceremony was presided over by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in the presence of the Air Chief.

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IAF Chief VR Chaudhari said the IAF's tryst with helicopters began in 1954 when sikorsky helicopter was inducted. 

And it being the first Unit of the indigenous LCH,  "The personnel of the unit have been specially selected based on their professional competence," said ACM Chaudhari.

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in March this year approved the procurement of 15 Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Limited Series Production at the cost of Rs. 3,887 crores along with Infrastructure sanctions worth Rs. 377 crores. Of these 5 LCH are to be inducted into the Indian Army.

Light Combat Helicopter Limited Series Production (LSP) is an indigenously designed, developed and manufactured state-of-the-art modern combat helicopter containing approx. 45% indigenous content by value which will progressively increase to more than 55% for SP Version, says the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The Helicopter is powered by a twin Shakti Engine and has a range of 500 km and a maximum speed of 268 kmph. It is compatible for high-altitude deployment with the capability to take off and land at about 5000 metre (16,400 feet).

The weapons onboard includes Air to Air Missile Mistral 2, Anti Tank Guided Missile Dhruvastra, and 70 MM Rockets.

Speaking on the occasion HAL CMD (additional charge) CB Anantkrishnan said that the machine has been tested thoroughly in various climatic conditions including the high altitude and cold climate of the Siachen and in the process the machine clocked 2034 flights and 1500 hrs of flying.

"145 number of LCH is expected from Indian users and also international opportunities are expected." Anantkrishnan said.

It should be noted that the IAF is yet in the process of finalising the number of LCHs to be procured. These choppers may replace the ageing Russian Mi-25 and Mi-35 attack choppers.

In June this year, the Indian Army inducted the first LCH squadron in Bengaluru. It was on 29 September the first  helicopter was formally received by Director General Army Aviation Corps , Lt Gen A. K. Suri from  the manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in Bangalore. It will be moved to Eastern Command along the Line of Actual Control (LCH) next year. It has planned to induct 95 LCHs.

As per the MoD, “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 jungle and urban environments and support to ground forces and would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of Indian Air Force & 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 in LCH. Several key aviation technologies like Glass Cockpit and composite airframe structures have been indigenised.

The future Series Production version will consist of further modern & indigenous systems.

Production of LCH will reduce import dependence for Combat helicopters in the country. Light Combat Helicopters are already in the import embargo list.



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