India introduces new Prachand light combat helicopter

The Prachand light combat helicopter. Photo c/o Indian MoD.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has inducted the first batch of its new Prachand light combat helicopter (LCH), which is expected to boost the service’s combat capability especially in high altitude environments.

The first four Prachand LCH for the IAF were formally inducted during ceremonies held at the Jodhpur Air Base on 03 October 2022 in the presence of Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, IAF Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshall VR Chaudhari, and other senior Indian military officials.

Aside from IAF, the Indian Army was reported to have received their first batch of Prachand LCH, and inducted at Bangalore last 29 September 2022.

The Prachand, is the end product of India’s Indigenous Light Combat Helicopter Program, and was developed and built by state-owned aviation company Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

It was designed to operate in high altitude environments in India’s northern and north-eastern borders with China and Pakistan, and is said to be the only attack helicopter in the world capable of landing and take-off from an altitude of 5,000 meters with considerable load of munitions and fuel.

The Prachand, named after a Hindi word translating to “fierce”,  is a 5.8-tonne twin-engine helicopter with a maximum speed of 268 kilometers per hour, a range of 550 kilometers, an endurance of over 3 hours, and a maximum flight ceiling of 6,500 meters.

It has a 20mm chin-mounted gun, and can be armed with a variety of air-to-ground rockets and missiles, and air-to-air missiles to shoot down enemy helicopters.

The Indian Air Force plans to have 65 Prachand helicopters, while the Indian Army plans to have around 95 helicopters, with the helicopters expected to be fully delivered by 2030.

India also plans to export the Prachand light combat helicopter, with the Indian Ministry of Defence already releasing No Objection Certificate for countries including Egypt, Ecuador, Angola and Nigeria, as well as Asian countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

[1] Indian Express

[2] Hindustan Times

[3] The National News

India introduces new Prachand light combat helicopter  India introduces new Prachand light combat helicopter Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on October 06, 2022 Rating: 5

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