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    Made-in-India Prachand combat choppers carry out wargames with Army, performing well: IAF pilots

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    Within a few months of joining the Indian Air Force, the Prachand Light Combat Helicopter has started participating in joint wargames with the Indian Army and are performing very well.

    The Prachand Light Combat Helicopters were inducted into the Air Force on October 3 last year and have been flying extensively in the desert sector since then.

    “We are carrying out integrated exercises with Army and we are fully prepared and ready to give support to Army in case of any future conflicts,” Indian Air Force’s Dhanush squadron’s Squadron Leader Raunak Dubey told ANI.

    He said the chopper is being flown extensively in the desert sector and performing very well. “We have flown this chopper quite a lot in our unit and we are highly impressed with its capabilities as it has been able to deliver on all its parameters.

    Its roles are to provide close air support to ground forces and take out enemy air defences,” he said. Sq Ld Dubey said the Prachand is one of the most potent combat helicopters in the world which possesses air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles and has also got a 70 mm rocket pod as well as a 20 mm gun canon.

    “It has performed very well during trials in both high altitude locations like eastern Ladakh and Siachen glacier. Its navigation system allows pilots to pick up targets and destroy them with ease,” he said.

    READ MORE: India’s Tactical Interdiction & Attack Air Vehicle (TIA-AV 50) Mystery Program

    Squadron Leader Tanmai Manan said the made-in-India LCH l gives India an edge over other attack helicopters due to its payload-carrying capacities, stealth, speed and agility. “The helicopter is highly manoeuvrable, agile and responsive. The airframe has been designed in a way to make it crash-worthy.

    LCH is the only combat helicopter to have proven itself in the world’s highest battlefield. It can carry lethal weapons and destroy a plethora of targets in altitudes in excess of 6 kms,” he said.

    The Commanding Officer of the squadron Group Captain Deepak Vishnoi also showcased the flying capabilities of the helicopter as the choppers took off for a sortie over the nearby locations in the desert sector.

    The Jodhpur air base also has the Weapon Systems Integrated ALH Dhruv helicopter squadron whose role is to take out enemy armoured vehicles in times of conflict and they are known as ‘Tankbusters’.

    READ MORE: US think tank supports the supply of MQ-4C Drones to India.

    What is a Light Combat Helicopter?

    PRACHAND: Light Combat Helicopter
    PRACHAND: Light Combat Helicopter
    • About:
      • The LCH is the only attack helicopter in the world which can land and take off at an altitude of 5,000 meters with a considerable load of weapons and fuel.
      • The helicopter uses radar-absorbing material to lower radar signature and has a significantly crash-proof structure and landing gear.
        • A pressurised cabin offers protection from Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) contingencies.
      • The helicopter is equipped with a countermeasure dispensing system that protects it from enemy radars or infrared seekers of enemy missiles.
      • LCH is powered by two French-origin Shakti engines manufactured by the HAL.
    • Genesis:
      • It was during the 1999 Kargil war that the need was first felt for a homegrown lightweight assault helicopter that could hold precision strikes in all Indian battlefield scenarios.
        • This meant a craft that could operate in very hot deserts and also in very cold high altitudes, in counter-insurgency scenarios to full-scale battle conditions.
      • India has been operating sub 3 ton category French-origin legacy helicopters, Chetak and Cheetah, made in India by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
        • These single engine machines were, primarily, utility helicopters. Indian forces also operate the Lancer, an armed version of Cheetah.
      • In addition, the Indian Air Force currently operates the Russian origin Mi-17 and its variants Mi-17 IV and Mi-17 V5, with maximum take-off weight of 13 tonnes, which are to be phased out starting 2028.
      • The government sanctioned the LCH project in October 2006 and HAL was tasked to develop it.
    • Significance:
      • The LCH has the capabilities of combat roles such as destruction of enemy air defence, counter insurgency warfare, combat search and rescue, anti-tank, and counter surface force operations.

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