Rajnath Singh takes a ride in a newly inducted Prachand helicopter

Rajnath Singh later said it was a “smooth and comfortable” flight


Defense Minister Rajnath Singh today went for a sortie on a ‘Prachand’ light combat helicopter, shortly after the induction of the new batch of the first Indian-made helicopters into the army of air during a ceremony in Jodhpur.

In flying gear, the Minister of Defense climbed into the cockpit of the combat helicopter with his co-pilot. Mr. Singh has already conducted sorties from several fighter jets, including the Rafale fighter jet.

“It was a smooth and comfortable flight aboard the locally built Light Combat Helicopter (LCH). It can fly in any terrain, weather and altitude; it has the capability to attack. Our motto is – make in India, manufacturing for the world,” he said after the release, according to news agency ANI.

The integration of the “Prachand” helicopters into the Air Force is a big boost to its combat prowess. These helicopters are capable of flying at very high altitudes and armed with a range of missiles.

The helicopter was tested in the Ladakh region, where India faces the threat of Chinese incursions. It has the ability to take out Chinese drones with air-to-air missiles and target ground tanks with air-to-ground weapons.

At the induction ceremony for the new helicopters, the Defense Minister said it was “a momentous occasion reflecting India’s capability in defense production”.

Developed by state-owned aerospace company Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the “Prachand” helicopter will be the backbone of the country’s helicopter gunship formations.

95 of these helicopters will go to the Indian Army and about 65 to the Air Force.

The Light Combat Helicopter has similarities to the Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter. It has a number of stealth features, armored protection systems, night attack capability and crash-resistant landing gear for better survivability, officials said. It is equipped with the agility, maneuverability, extended range, high-altitude performance and all-weather combat capability required to perform a range of roles, including combat search and rescue ( CSAR), destruction of enemy air defense (DEAD) and counter-insurgency (CI) operations.

The helicopter can also be deployed in high-altitude bunker-busting operations, counter-insurgency operations in jungles and urban environments, and in support of ground forces.

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