India Air Force seeks over 150 Prachand attack helicopters: Indian military, which faces the difficult prospect of tackling a two front simultaneous war with both China and Pakistan has pitched for purchase of hundreds of locally designed and developed attack helicopters known as Prachand (Fierce in English).
Prachand helicopters are manufactured by India’s state owned aircraft manufacturer the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and have been inducted in limited numbers in both the Indian Army and Indian Air Force.
India’s Prachand Light Attack Helicopter
HAL manufactured Prachand light combat attack helicopters are the only attack helicopters in the world that can land and take from an altitude of over 5,000 meters such as India’s Ladakh region where Indian Army is in a state of a tense stand-off with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) since May-June 2020.
Indian Air Force has approached the ministry of defence with a proposal to buy 156 new fully indigenous Prachand Light Combat Helicopters. Under the proposal, the IAF will get 66 light attack helicopters, while the remaining 90 will be inducted by Indian Army which has already deployed them on Pakistan border to deter Pakistan Army’s tank columns in the desert region.
“The proposal to acquire 156 choppers has been initiated by the Indian Air Force and is expected to be approved by the Defence Ministry soon,” a top security official told the media.
India has already inducted more than a dozen Prachand light attack helicopters in the army and air force and they have been deployed in both Rajasthan and also in Ladakh region bordering China.
According to officials, induction of locally made combat helicopters will help Indian Army and Indian Air Force to tackle the challenge posed by both China and Pakistan. They said the proposal is expected to be cleared soon.
Boeing Apache AH-64 combat helicopter
India has also inducted Apache AH-64 attack helicopters produced by the US defence and aerospace giant Boeing Defense and Space. While Apache attack helicopters are considered one of the most formidable combat helicopters and have been dubbed as tank killers.
However, India plans to induct locally designed and manufactured light attack helicopters in large numbers to counter China and Pakistan.
Prachand Light Combat helicopter was inducted into the Air Force in October last year. The Indian Air Force has conducted joint exercise with the Indian Army to ensure combat readiness of the newly inducted lethal weapon system.
Prachand light attack helicopters are equipped with a range of air-to-ground and air-to-air missiles to neutralize enemy air defence and destroy armoured columns of an adversary.