- LCH is on the government's "positive indigenisation list," which aims to ban the import of different types of weapons, systems, and ammunition over the next five to seven years to increase self-reliance in defence.
- The ministry said earlier that making LCH will make India less reliant on buying combat helicopters from other countries.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) will officially start using the homegrown light combat helicopter (LCH) at the Jodhpur air force station on October 3. The new platform will be able to target enemy air defences, slow-moving aircraft, high-altitude bunkers, and counter-insurgency operations, according to officials who are familiar with the situation.
The defence minister, Rajnath Singh, and the head of the Indian Air Force, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, are expected to be there.
In March, India’s Cabinet Committee on Security, which is led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval for the air force and army to buy 15 of these helicopters from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for 3,887 crore.
Ten of the first 15 helicopters will be used by the IAF and the other five will be used by the army. The officials said that it can land and take off from a height of 5,000 metres with weapons and fuel on board.
The defence ministry says that 45% of the value of LCH is made in India, and that number will rise over time to more than 55% for the version that will be made in large numbers. IAF and army are expected to need a total of 160 LCHs, so HAL is likely to get more orders.
LCH is on the government’s “positive indigenisation list,” which aims to ban the import of different types of weapons, systems, and ammunition over the next five to seven years to increase self-reliance in defence. In the last two years, the government has banned the import of 310 defence items by putting them on three different lists.
The ministry said earlier that making LCH will make India less reliant on buying combat helicopters from other countries. It also said that the helicopter could be exported.
At a ceremony in Jhansi on November 19, 2021, to celebrate India’s 75th year of independence, the Prime Minister gave the LCH and other locally made military equipment to the armed forces.