India is to procure 15 indigenously developed light combat helicopters (LCH) from state-owned aerospace and defence company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
The procurement was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to a Ministry of Defence (MoD) statement, CCS approved the procurement at the cost of Rs38.87bn ($513m) along with infrastructure sanctions worth Rs3.77bn ($49.8m).
The LCH limited series production (LSP) is a modern combat all-weather helicopter that can be used for combat search and rescue (CSAR), destruction of enemy air defence (DEAD) and counter insurgency (CI) operations.
The helicopter can also destroy slow-moving aircraft, remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) and high-altitude bunkers.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) will induct ten helicopters while the other five will be used by the Indian Army.
A statement from the Indian MoD commented: “State-of-the-art technologies and systems compatible with stealth features such as reduced Visual, Aural, Radar and IR signatures and crashworthiness features for better survivability have been integrated into LCH for deployment in combat roles catering to emerging needs for next three to four decades.
“Several key aviation technologies like a glass cockpit and composite airframe structure have been indigenised. The future Series Production (SP) version will consist of further modern and indigenous systems.”
The helicopter is manufactured using 45% indigenous content by value. The figure will gradually increase to more than 55% for the SP version.
Recently, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) secured a contract to deliver an advanced electronic warfare (EW) suite for IAF fighter aircraft.