The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced the induction of the new indigenously built light combat helicopter (LCH) into the Indian Air Force (IAF).

A ceremony was held to mark the induction of the helicopter in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India.

It was attended by Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, chief of air staff (CAS) air chief marshal V R Chaudhary along with other senior officials from the IAF, MoD and local dignitaries.

Inducted in the IAF’s newly formed No. 143 Helicopter Unit, the LCH has been named as ‘Prachanda’ by Rajnath Singh.

According to Chaudhary, the aircraft will boost the IAF’s combat potential and the offensive capabilities of the LCH are comparatively better than most attack helicopters.

The IAF has also completed the selection of personnel for the new helicopter unit, which according to Chaudhary, was done based on professional competence.

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The LCH has been designed and developed indigenously by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), giving a major boost to India’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatma Nirbharatha’ endeavours.

HAL’s LCH offers various capabilities, including armour protection, night attack, ground attack and aerial combat capabilities.

It is a multi-role combat helicopter equipped with advanced navigation system, air-to-air missiles and guns customised for performing close combat operations.

Singh said: “The recent conflicts in Ukraine and elsewhere showed us that heavy weapon systems and platforms, which do not allow for rapid movement in the battlefield, are sometimes vulnerable and become easy targets for the enemy.

“Therefore, the need of the hour is to move towards the development of those equipment and platforms, which are mobile, have ease of movement, are more flexible, and at the same time meet the requirements of the armed forces.”