Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Prachand inducted into IAF

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : LCH Prachanda

Mains level : Not Much

lch

The indigenous Light Combat Helicopter LCH-Prachand was formally inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF).

LCH- Prachand

  • The LCH has been designed as a twin-engine, dedicated combat helicopter of 5.8-ton class, thus categorized as light.
  • It features a narrow fuselage and tandem — one behind the other — configuration for pilot and co-pilot. The co-pilot is also the Weapon Systems Operator (WSO).
  • While LCH inherits many features of the ALH-Dhruv, it mainly differs in tandem cockpit configuration, making it sleeker.
  • It also has many more state-of-art systems that make it a dedicated attack helicopter.

Features, the significance of LCH

  • LCH has the maximum take-off weight of 5.8 tonnes, a maximum speed of 268 kilometers per hour, range of 550 kilometers.
  • It has endurance of over three hours and service ceiling the maximum density altitude to which it can fly — of 6.5 kilometres.
  • LCH is powered by two French-origin Shakti engines manufactured by the HAL.

Combat capabilities

  • The helicopter uses radar-absorbing material to lower radar signature and has a significantly crash-proof structure and landing gear.
  • A pressurised cabin offers protection from nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) contingencies.
  • With these features, the LCH has the capabilities of combat roles such as destruction of enemy air defence, counter-insurgency warfare, combat search and rescue, anti-tank, and counter surface force operations.

Why need indigenous LCH?

  • It was during the 1999 Kargil war that the need was first felt for a homegrown lightweight assault helicopter that could hold precision strikes in all Indian battlefield scenarios.
  • This meant a craft that could operate in very hot deserts and also in very cold high altitudes, in counter-insurgency scenarios to full-scale battle conditions.
  • India has been operating sub 3 ton category French-origin legacy helicopters, Chetak and Cheetah, made in India by the HAL.

 

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