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SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK

In 2017, Then Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat had said Indigenous Attack/combat helicopters HAL Rudra and HAL Light Combat Helicopter have major shortcomings, that is in their current configuration both do not have suitable anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), which is the main weapon of any Attack/Combat helicopters around the world.

Fast forward to 2020 and nothing much has changed since then as HAL Rudra MkIV and LCH Helicopters continue to be armed only with French Nexter 20mm turret gun and Belgian 70 mm rockets and waits for ATGM to be used as effective anti-armor, anti-bunker and anti-fortification role for the Strike Corps.

DRDO developed Helina and SANT anti-tank guided missile system was supposed to provide lethal aerial firepower against the armored thrust of the rivals but DRDO has not been able to clear this trial phase of this missiles and enter production. DRDO officials have claimed both the missiles are ready for production and have cleared all trials but there seem to be some bottleneck issues with the production of the missile which is yet to resolve.

Army already has 60 HAL Rudra MkIV and the chorus has been growing to induct HAL developed LCH also and it seems, Army will clear that proposal to induct 10 LCH and 5 for Air force soon, but both Helicopters will continue to come without any decent ATGM integrated into them. Army has been proposing the integration of American AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missile (ASM) and buys interim stock for both HAL Rudra and LCH fleet but it has some opposition from DRDO which claims its Army which is delaying ordering locally developed Helina and SANT anti-tank guided missile system over imported ATGM.

Army also has been offered helo-launched Spike ER and the MBDA PARS L3 anti-tank guided missile from other foreign vendors but turf war is yet to be resolved between Army and DRDO due to which one of the main weapon systems for Gunship Helicopters are still missing but sources close to idrw.org has confirmed that talks are underway to keep both Army and DRDO happy and a deal to arm this gunships with ATGM will be cleared by end of this year.

 

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