The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the purchase of 15 Light Combat Helicopters from state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited on Wednesday.
The conference in New Delhi, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the procurement of “Limited Series Production (LSP) at a cost of Rs 3,887 crore and Infrastructure sanctions of Rs 377 crore,” according to an official statement from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The Indian Air Force (IAF) will receive ten of the 15 helicopters produced at the HAL facility, while the Indian Army will receive five. Both services have a total requirement of roughly 160 LCH, with the IAF receiving 65 and the Indian Army receiving the rest, according to a senior commander. The proposal for a first batch of 15 LCHs was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in 2020.
Cost discussions and technical analyses were conducted after the IAF and Army services issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for 15 LSP helicopters, with 10 for the IAF and 5 for the Indian Army. In anticipation of orders from the IAF and the Army, HAL had already begun manufacturing of LSP helicopters.
Following the confrontation in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in August 2020, the IAF decided to deploy two LCH for high-altitude missions. These indigenous helicopters are capable of meeting the needs of the armed forces and providing rapid support to the IAF.
Since the Indian Army and the Chinese PLA battled along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in 2020, these helicopters have demonstrated their capacity to quickly deploy in forward places in high temperatures and challenging terrains.
The training for the first batch of IAF soldiers has already begun at Bengaluru’s Helicopter Division.
More information on LCH
This is an indigenous product that has been designed, developed, and made using cutting-edge technology. According to the Ministry of Defense, it features roughly 45 percent indigenous content by value, which is planned to rise to 55 percent for the Series Production (SP) version.
It has a long range, high altitude performance, manoeuvrability, required agility, 24-hour combat capabilities, and all-weather combat capability. This will allow it to conduct combat search and rescue (CSAR), destroy enemy air defence (DEAD), and counter insurgency (CI) operations in jungles and cities. It can be used against slow-moving aircraft, high-altitude bunker busting, and remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs).
This helicopter is well-suited to both services’ operational needs.
What’s on onboard?
This helicopter will be equipped with cutting-edge technology, including systems that are compatible with stealth features such as reduced visual, aural, radar, and infrared signatures. Crashworthiness elements have been added into this lethal battle machine, which will be deployed in combat roles and will cater to new threats over the next few decades.
Several significant aviation technology have been indigenized, including the Glass Cockpit and composite airframe structures. And future SP versions will include even more contemporary and indigenous systems.
According to the Ministry of Defence, building this helicopter in India will enhance the Atmanirbhar Bharat plan and indigenization of the country’s defence industry and production.
Additionally, once these vehicles are manufactured in India, the armed services’ reliance on imported combat helicopters would be reduced. It has already been placed on the import embargo list and has the ability to export.