This month, the Indian Army will activate the first squadron of indigenous Light Combat Helicopters (LCH). It will be based at Missamari air base in Assam and will be part of the aviation brigade tasked with defending Arunachal Pradesh’s strategically vital western region.

Missamari is located in the Himalayan foothills and is tasked with defending the Tezpur-Bomdila-Tawang-Bum La axis, among other things. China invaded along the same route in 1962.

In October, the LCH was inducted into the Indian Air Force. Five helicopters were handed over to the Army Aviation Brigade at the same time. The helicopters have arrived in Missamari and are being integrated with other brigade assets ahead of a formal induction later this month.

Missamari’s Army Aviation Brigade was established in March of last year. It has a squadron of Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) with weapon system integrated (WSI) mistral air-to-air missiles. The helicopter is capable of performing reconnaissance, troop transport, anti-tank warfare, and close air support.

The brigade also has an ALH copter unit for logistics purposes. The brigade’s specialised UAV unit is tasked with keeping an eye on the Line of Actual Control (LAC). In forward areas, the UAV maintains surveillance and provides real-time imagery to commanders on the ground.