The Indian Air Force (IAF) will no longer need to import attack helicopters from abroad as the Prachand Combat helicopter developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will be sufficient to meet its requirements for any type of operation, said Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari.
The IAF currently operates a fleet of 22 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. Recently, the Union Defence Ministry approved a proposal to purchase 156 Prachand Combat helicopters. Out of these, 90 will be for the Indian Army and 66 will be for the IAF.
The Prachand, also known as the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), is a culmination of two decades of research and development efforts. It was developed to address the need for indigenous attack helicopters after the Kargil War in 1999.
“The Prachand is a game-changer for the IAF,” said Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari. “It is a highly capable attack helicopter that can meet all of our operational requirements. We are confident that it will give us a significant edge in any future conflict.”
The Prachand is a multi-role combat helicopter that can be used for a variety of missions, including:
- Close air support
- Anti-tank warfare
- Armed reconnaissance
- Counter-insurgency operations
The helicopter is equipped with a range of weapons and sensors, including:
- A 20mm cannon
- 70mm rockets
- Anti-tank guided missiles
- Electro-optical and infrared sensors
The Prachand is also highly maneuverable and can operate in a variety of weather conditions. The IAF plans to begin inducting the Prachand into service in 2024.
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