New Delhi: The procurement of 15 indigenously developed Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) at a cost of Rs 3,887 crore was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on March 30. The defence ministry said 10 helicopters will be procured from state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the Indian Air Force and five will be for the Indian Army.
The Ministry of Defence in its statement said that the CCS meeting under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi has approved the procurement of the “Limited Series Production (LSP) at the cost of Rs 3,887 crore and Infrastructure sanctions worth Rs 377 crore.
Both the services have a total requirement of around 160 LCH. Light Combat Helicopter Limited Series Production (LSP) is an indigenously developed combat helicopter. Currently, it contains around 45 per cent indigenous content by value and is expected to progressively increase to more than 55 per cent for Series Production (SP) version .
In 2020, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had approved the proposal for an initial batch of 15 LCHs. IAF and Army services had issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for 15 LSP helicopters which included 10 for IAF and for the Indian Army 5, and cost negotiations and technical evaluations were carried out. HAL had already initiated the production of LSP helicopters in anticipation of the orders from IAF and the Army.
The LCH is equipped with requisite agility, manoeuvrability, extended range, high altitude performance and all-weather combat capability to perform a range of roles including combat search and rescue (CSAR), destruction of enemy air defence (DEAD) and counter-insurgency (CI) operations. It can be deployed against slow moving aircraft, high altitude bunker busting operations and Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAs) and is ideal to meet the operational demands of both the services.
The LCH have the indigenised state of the art technologies, systems that are compatible with stealth features including reduced Visual, Aural, Radar and IR signatures. Crash worthiness features for better survivability have been integrated and will cater to emerging threats for the next few decades.
Already in the import embargo list, the domestic manufacturing of LCH helicopter will give a boost to the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative and will reduce import dependence of Combat helicopters for the armed forces.