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IAF Inducts Indigenously-Built Light Combat Helicopter

Developed by the state-run aerospace major HAL, the 5.8-tonne twin-engine gunship chopper is armed with air-to-air missiles, 20 mm turret guns, rocket systems and other weapons.

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Jodhpur: The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Monday inducted the first fleet of indigenously-built Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs), which has been developed primarily for mountain warfare after a requirement for it was felt during the Kargil war in 1999.

Developed by the state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the 5.8-tonne twin-engine gunship chopper is armed with air-to-air missiles, 20 mm turret guns, rocket systems and other weapons.

The fleet comprising four helicopters was inducted into the IAF at a ceremony at the Jodhpur Air Force Station in presence of defence minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari and other senior military officials.

“It is a momentous occasion reflecting India’s capability in defence production,” Singh said.

The LCH would be effective in hitting enemy infantry, tanks, bunkers, drones and other assets in high-altitude regions, military officials said.

“Subsequently, the IAF and HAL began exploring the possibility of developing the platform with a capacity to carry an adequate weapon load, sufficient fuel and still be capable of operating in the higher reaches of the Himalayan ranges,” said an official.