Ministry of Defence Issues RFP to Procure 156 LCH Prachand for Indian Army, IAF

Defence Industry

New Delhi: Giving further boost to aatmanirbharta and augment battle capabilities of the armed forces, especially to operate at high altitudes, the defence ministry has started the process to procure 156 light combat helicopters from defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). A request for proposal (RFP) or initial tender has been issued by the ministry for the procurement project, the officials said.


Last year in November, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had cleared the proposal to procure the multi-role and two-crew cockpit LCH Prachand helicopters for the Army and the IAF under Buy (Indian-IDDM) category. Out of the 156 Prachand Light Combat Helicopters, 90 will be for the Army and 66 will be for the Indian Air Force.

The 5.8-tonne twin-engine LCH, developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), is armed with various weapon systems and is capable of destroying enemy tanks, bunkers, drones and other assets in high-altitude regions. The helicopter possesses modern stealth characteristics, robust armour protection and formidable night attack capability, and it is fully capable of even operating in Siachen, the world’s highest battle-field.

Informing the BSE Ltd in a filing, the HAL said that the RFP has been issued by the ministry for procurement of 156 light combat helicopters. The HAL also issued an RFP in April for the procurement of 97 more LCA MK1A. With the formation of a new government, the tendering process is likely to accelerate as the IAF looks to replace ageing Mig 21 fighter jets with Tejas.

Around 15 LCH Prachand are operational with IAF and the IA in their respective combat fleets. The HAL has done extensive test flying of the LCH, which the PSU believes is the only copter available across the globe that can operate at an higher altitude. Since the first prototype took to the skies in a maiden sortie in March 2010, it has successfully demonstrated its capability to land and take off from high altitudes, including the Siachen glacier.

big bang

Issued by the MoD, the RFP is expected to send a message to foreign countries showing interest in the LCH that Indian forces have trust in their own aerial platforms. Argentina is one of the South American countries that has signed a letter of intent to purchase 20 LCH Prachand, while the Philippines, too, is said to be in an advanced stage of negotiation with the HAL for acquiring the rotary wing platform.

The HAL having missed the earlier deadline of March, is finally going to deliver the first of the 83 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) MK1A ‘Tejas’ to the IAF next month. In February 2021, the IAF placed orders for 83 LCA MK1A in a deal worth Rs 48,000 crore.