AviationDefenceIndian Army

Armed Forces Will Receive 12 Light Utility Helicopters From HAL

Story Highlights
  • Army and the IAF have a combined need for more than 400 utility helicopters, which are intended to replace the ageing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters now in use.
  • The person also stated that the Army is arguing for the remaining 11 Apaches out of the 39 that were authorised.

The Services have provided Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) with a Letter of Intent to manufacture 12 Light Utility Helicopters (LUH), which are domestically designed and developed. Simultaneously, the Services are in the midst of receiving nine Light Combat Helicopters (LCH), which have been produced in lieu of the authorised 15 Limited Series Production (LSP) models.

Another development is that the Army is in talks with the United States to buy 11 new Apache AH-64E attack helicopters.

The Services have provided Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) with a Letter of Intent to manufacture 12 Light Utility Helicopters (LUH), which are domestically designed and developed. Simultaneously, the Services are in the midst of receiving nine Light Combat Helicopters (LCH), which have been produced in lieu of the authorised 15 Limited Series Production (LSP) models.

Another development is that the Army is in talks with the United States to buy 11 new Apache AH-64E attack helicopters.

LCH induction

The Army established its first LCH squadron in Bengaluru in June; when it is finished the following year, it will transfer to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Command. “Nine LCH have been produced out of the 15 LSP that were ordered. They are in the acceptance phase, according to HAL sources.

According to sources, the Army is now considering purchasing about 111 LUH and 95 LCH. Seven LCH units, each with ten helicopters, are planned for a combat role in the mountains, according to army sources. In the coming months, the IAF also plans to establish its first LCH squadron.

More Apache attack helicopters

Earlier, the Cabinet Committee on Security had approved the purchase of 39 AH-64 Apache assault helicopters from the United States. After that, the IAF had included 22 Apaches acquired through a contract finalised in September 2015. The administration had decided that the Army would receive any additional Apache purchases. In keeping with this, India agreed to purchase six additional Apache helicopters in February 2020 for about $800 million.

The COVID-19 epidemic has caused a 10 month delay in deliveries that were scheduled to start in the first half of 2023, a defence official said. According to an Army source, they will now arrive in the first quarter of 2024.

The person also stated that the Army is arguing for the remaining 11 Apaches out of the 39 that were authorised. Recent confirmation from a top Boeing official that additional Apaches were being discussed with the Indian Army.

Three Aviation Brigades are located by the Army in Leh, Missamari, and Jodhpur. 75 of its 145 locally produced Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) are Rudra-weaponized models. Within two years, another 25 ALH Mk-III are expected to be entered. While the IAF uses close to 140 of these helicopters, the Army uses over 190 Cheetah, Chetak, and Cheetals and is in desperate need of replacements.

A total of 500 rotary assets, including 90 Mi-17s, 130 Mi-17V5s, over 70 ALH, including the weaponized variants, 22 Apaches, one squadron of Mi-35 attack helicopters, and 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy lift helicopters, are operated by the IAF.

The Army and the IAF have a combined need for more than 400 utility helicopters, which are intended to replace the ageing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters now in use. Together, the LUH and the 200 Ka-226T utility helicopters that would be produced through Russian technology transfer were supposed to meet this requirement.

However, the Ka-226T agreement has been put off for years due to concerns with indigenization, and now that the LUH is prepared and the geopolitical environment has changed as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, officials have stated that the transaction is likely to be abandoned. Although the LUH has done well, it will take some time for enough people to arrive, according to Army officials.

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