LCH: Indian Army Raised First Squadron Of Indigenous Combat Helicopter In June; Will Be Moved To China Border Next Year

by Swarajya Staff - Jul 12, 2022 04:14 PM +05:30 IST
LCH: Indian Army Raised First Squadron Of Indigenous Combat Helicopter In June; Will Be Moved To China Border Next YearA light combat helicopter.
Snapshot
  • The Indian Army plans to have seven units of LCH, each with 10 helicopters. These units will be raised for deployment in the mountainous areas, including India's frontiers in the Himalayas.

The Indian Army quietly raised the first squadron of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCH) at Bengaluru on 1 June this year.

According to a news report, the squadron will be moved to the Eastern Command, which is responsible for India's borders in the east, including the frontier with Tibet in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

The report adds that the Indian Army plans to have seven units of LCH, each with 10 helicopters. These units will be raised for deployment in the mountainous areas, including India's frontiers in the Himalayas.

LCH, designed and built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), is India's first indigenously-built dedicated attack helicopter.

The helicopter has been built to meet the requirements of the Indian military in high-altitude areas in Kashmir, Ladakh and Arunachal. It has demonstrated its capability of operating in high-altitude conditions during trials not only in Ladakh but also on the Siachen Glacier, often referred to as the 'world's highest battlefield'. Two LCHs were deployed in Ladakh in August 2020 amid the standoff with China along the Line of Actual Control.

Equipped with HAL's new-generation Shakti engine, co-developed with French engine-maker Safran, the 5.5 tonne helo has been designed to operate at an altitude of up to 20,000 feet.

“During the Kargil War of 1999, there was a need felt for armed attack helicopters capable of operating at high altitude. That’s where the LCH fits in,” former Indian Air Force chief Fali Homi Major, the only helicopter pilot to become Chief of Air Staff, wrote recently.

The combat helicopter comes armed with a cannon mounted below its nose, capable of piercing light armour with a thousand 20-millimetre bullets each minute. It carries 70-millimetre rockets on pods on either side. The helo can also be armed with an air-to-air missile and an anti-armour missile.

MBDA’s Mistral air-to-air missile has been test-fired from the LCH, and the HAL has procured and integrated Mistral-specific launchers on the platform.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had officially handed over the helicopter to the IAF in Uttar Pradesh's Jhansi on 19 November last year.

The Cabinet Committee on Security, the highest decision making body on national security affairs, had approved the purchase of 15 LCHs for the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force in March 2022.

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