The first indigenously developed Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) was on Monday inducted into Indian Air Force at Jodhpur, in the presence of Defence minister Rajnath Singh and IAF chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari. CDS General Anil Chauhan also present at the induction ceremony.
"It is a momentous occasion reflecting India's capability in defence production," Singh said. The LCH would be effective in hitting enemy infantry, tanks, bunkers, drones and other assets in high-altitude regions, military officials said.
"Recent Ukrainian conflict or earlier conflicts teach us that heavy weapon systems and platforms, which are unable to move rapidly across the battlefield, have low capability, and become easy targets for the enemy. The defence of the nation is our top priority, and we are fully committed to it. I can say with full confidence that in the coming time, India will be first whenever there is talk of superpowers including military power in the world," Rajnath Singh added.
"Subsequently, the IAF and HAL began exploring the possibility of developing the platform with a capacity to carry an adequate weapon load, sufficient fuel and still be capable of operating in the higher reaches of the Himalayan ranges," said an official.
The LCH, developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), has been primarily designed for deployment in high-altitude regions.
In March, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the procurement of 15 indigenously developed Limited Series Production (LSP) LCH at a cost of Rs 3,887 crore.
The LCH has similarities with Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv. It has a number of stealth features, armoured-protection systems, night attack capability and crash-worthy landing gear for better survivability, officials said.