Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today went for a sortie on a 'Prachand' Light Combat Helicopter, shortly after the new batch of the country's first India-made choppers was inducted into the Air Force in a ceremony in Jodhpur.
Dressed in flying gear, the Defence Minister climbed into the cockpit of the combat helicopter with his co-pilot. Mr Singh has earlier flown sorties of several combat aircraft, including the Rafale fighter jet.
"It was a smooth and comfortable flight in the indigenously built Light Combat Helicopter (LCH). It can fly in any terrain, weather, and altitude; it has the capability to attack. Our motto is - make in India, make for the world," he said after the sortie, according to news agency ANI.
It was a smooth and comfortable flight in the indigenously built Light Combat Helicopter (LCH). It can fly in any terrain, weather, and altitude; it has the capability to attack. Our motto is - make in India, make for the world: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at Jodhpur airbase pic.twitter.com/ofnmhBZWCD— ANI (@ANI) October 3, 2022
The induction of the 'Prachand' choppers into the Air Force is a big boost to its combat prowess. These choppers are capable of flying at very high altitudes and armed with a range of missiles.
The helicopter has been tested in the Ladakh region, where India faces the threat of Chinese incursions. It has the capablity to take out Chinese drones with air-to-air missiles and to target tanks on the ground with air-to-surface weapons.
In the ceremony to induct the new helicopters, the Defence Minister said it is "a momentous occasion reflecting India's capability in defence production".
Developed by the state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the 'Prachand' helicopter will be the bedrock of the country's combat helicopter formations.
95 of these choppers will go to the Indian Army and about 65 to the Air Force.
The Light Combat Helicopter has similarities with the Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv. It has a number of stealth features, armoured-protection systems, night attack capability and crash-worthy landing gear for better survivability, officials said. It is equipped with requisite agility, manoeuvrability, extended range, high altitude performance and all-weather combat capability to perform a range of roles including combat search and rescue (CSAR), destruction of enemy air defence (DEAD) and counter-insurgency (CI) operations.
The helicopter can also be deployed in high-altitude bunker-busting operations, counter-insurgency operations in the jungles and urban environments, as well as for supporting ground forces.