The Indian Air Force will place orders for 156 more Prachand Light Combat Helicopters with the HAL for their deployment at the Pakistan and China fronts by the IAF and the Indian Army.
The two services have already inducted 15 of these choppers in their fleet in the last one and a half year following their trials in the most extreme weather conditions and terrain in the world.
The move could be termed as one of the biggest pushes for self-reliance in the defence sector.
“The Indian Air Force as the lead service has moved a proposal to the government for buying 156 more Prachand choppers as a joint acquisition case which is likely to get approved soon,” senior defence officials said.
Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari had recently announced the force’s will to procure nearly 100 more Light Combat Aircraft Mark 1A to boost indigenisation. The combined total of the two projects in terms of worth is over Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
Out of the 156 choppers, 66 would be acquired by the IAF while the rest 90 would be inducted by the Indian Army.
Meeting the Indian Air Force requirement of being a completely Indian Designed, developed and manufactured weapon system, the Prachand has been extensively test-flown by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).
The helicopter has been designed as per the requirements of the Indian armed forces for their operation in both desert terrains and high-altitude sectors.
Prachand is the world’s only attack helicopter that can land and take off at an altitude of 5,000 metres (16,400 ft), which makes it ideal to operate in the high-altitude areas of the Siachen glacier and Eastern Ladakh.
The chopper is also capable of firing a range of air-to-ground and air-to-air missiles and can destroy air defence operations of the enemy. Prachand will also be equipped with newer Dhruvastra air-to-ground missiles that is capable of destroying hardened shelters of the enemy in high altitude as well as other terrain.
(With ANI inputs)