IAF inducts first fleet of India-built Light Combat Helicopters; Rajnath Singh calls it a ‘momentous occasion’

New Delhi: The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Monday (October 3, 2022) inducted the first fleet of indigenously-built Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh calling it a “momentous occasion”. The fleet comprising four helicopters was inducted into the IAF at a ceremony at the Jodhpur Air Force Station in presence of Rajnath Singh, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and other senior military officials.

“It is a momentous occasion reflecting India’s capability in defence production,” Singh said.

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. It has been developed primarily for mountain warfare after a requirement for it was felt during the Kargil war in 1999.

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According to military officials, the LCH would be effective in hitting enemy infantry, tanks, bunkers, drones and other assets in high-altitude regions.

Earlier in March this year, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) had approved the procurement of 15 indigenously developed Limited Series Production (LSP) LCH at a cost of Rs 3,887 crore. The defence ministry had said 10 helicopters would be for the IAF and five for the Indian Army.

The Army has a plan to acquire 95 LCH largely for a combat role in the mountains.

(With agency inputs)

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