Everything to know about 'Prachand,' first made-in-India light combat helicopter
The Indian Air Force (IAF) formally inducted the first batch of indigenously developed light combat helicopters (LCH), named Prachand, in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday. It is the only assault helicopter capable of operating in Siachen, the world's highest battlefield, and can fire a range of missiles and armaments. Here's everything to know about Prachand's features.
Why does this story matter?
- Prachand LCHs have been developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) under the government's "Make in India" initiative.
- Prachand is the world's only assault helicopter capable of landing and taking off at an altitude of 5,000 meter.
- Notably, the Kargil War highlighted the need for combat helicopters that could operate at high altitudes and carry sufficient weapons, and Prachand fulfills these requirements.
Only LCH to operate at 5,000m battlefields
HAL stated that Prachand is the only attack helicopter capable of taking off and landing at an altitude of 5,000m, carrying a considerable load of weapons and fuel. It has many similarities with the advanced light helicopter (ALH) Dhruv and addresses several shortcomings of the latter. Prachand can perform combat search and rescue (CSAR), destruction of enemy air defense (DEAD), and counter-insurgency (CI) operations.
Indian Army received first LCH on September 29
Indeginiously designed developed Light Combat Helicopter #LCH has been inducted into #IndianArmy. The first #LCH was formally handed over by #HAL to Director General, #ArmyAviationCorps. Highly manoeuvrable agile, #LCH will significantly enhance the combat capability. pic.twitter.com/m5DSTlHlc4— ADG PI - INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) September 29, 2022
Prachand has highly crash-proof body
As per HAL, Prachand has a maximum take-off weight of 5.8 tons, a maximum speed of 268km/h, and a range of 550km. It has an endurance of more than three hours and a service ceiling—the maximum density altitude at which the chopper can fly—of 6.5km. The helicopter features a highly crash-proof frame and landing gear and uses radar-absorbing material to minimize radar signature.
All-weather combat, night attack capabilities
According to the Ministry of Defence, Prachand is propelled by two HAL-manufactured Shakti engines that were co-developed with France's Safran. The LCH's top features are its ability to fight in all weather conditions, solid performance at high altitudes, agility, maneuverability, and extended range. The helicopters also have the capability to launch night attacks and have crash-worthy landing gear, the ministry added.
'Highly advanced version of ALH Dhruv'
Speaking about Prachand, Group Captain Rajiv Kumar Narang (Retired), told The Print, "The LCH's indigenous design allows it to operate at both sea level and at mountains." "No helicopter in its class can do this. It's an Indian design fit for the world," added Narang, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Drone Federation of India. Prachand is a highly advanced version of ALH Dhruv, he asserted.