Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hand over locally produced military hardware, including light combat helicopters (LCHs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and electronic warfare systems for warships, to the armed forces on November 19 at a function in Jhansi as part of celebrations marking India’s 75th year of independence, emphasising the government’s focus on achieving self-reliance in the defence sector.
The PM will present the LCH, designed and developed by state-run plane maker Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), to Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari, and UAVs manufactured by local startups to army chief General MM Naravane, according to a statement issued by the defence ministry on Monday.
The three-day event will be inaugurated on November 17 by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
“LCH incorporates advanced technologies and stealth features and is designed to perform roles such as enemy air defence destruction, counterinsurgency, search and rescue, and anti-tank operations.” It is the world’s only attack helicopter capable of landing and taking off at an altitude of 5,000 metres.
HAL has not yet received the LCH contract from the defence ministry for supplying helicopters to the IAF and army, but that has not stopped it from manufacturing and delivering helicopters to the two services. Its transfer to IAF indicates that the contract will be signed soon.
HAL is awaiting a contract for 15 limited series production (LSP) helicopters and anticipates additional orders, as the IAF and army have a combined projected requirement of 160 LCHs. The initial 15 LSP helicopters approved for purchase by India’s apex defence procurement body, the defence acquisition council (DAC), are for the IAF and five for the army.