This Republic Day, India's own Prachand helicopter, the first-ever dedicated attack helo to be designed and built in the country, will lead a formation of attack whirlybirds over the Kartavya Path.
The five-aircraft formation, led by a Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), will have two Apaches and Rudra helicopters.
A picture of the formation, taken during rehearsals, is going viral on the internet. The picture shows the formation over Raisina Hill.
The Army and Air Force inducted their first units of the LCH last year. While the IAF inducted its first LCHs at Jodhpur in October 2022r, the Indian Army had quietly raised its first unit of the made-in-India attack helicopter — 351 Army Aviation Squadron — at Bengaluru in June 2022.
The squadron is now deployed at Missamari in Assam, not far from the Air Force Station in Tezpur, which hosts Su-30 MKI fighters of the IAF.
Over the next few years, the Army plans to induct 95 LCHs. Out of these, seven units of LCH, each with ten helicopters, will be deployed in the mountainous areas, including the LAC with China.
The helicopter has been built to meet the requirements of the Indian military in high-altitude areas in Kashmir, Ladakh, and Arunachal.
Equipped with HAL's new-generation Shakti engine, co-developed with French engine-maker Safran, the 5.8-tonne helo has been designed to operate at an altitude of up to 20,000 feet.
The LCH comes armed with a cannon, which is mounted below its nose. It is capable of piercing light armour with a thousand 20-millimetre (mm) bullets each minute. It also carries 70-mm rockets on pods on either side.
The helicopter can also be armed with air-to-air missiles to target slow-moving aircraft and anti-armour missiles to destroy tanks.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.