The Indian Air Force has inducted a new light combat helicopter capable of supporting troops and delivering precision strikes on high-altitude missions.
Developed as part of the country’s “Make in India” initiative, the new aircraft has twin engines and weighs between five to eight tons (4,535 to 7,257 kilograms). It is described as the only attack helicopter in the world that can reach 5,000 meters (16,400 feet).
Built by aerospace firm Hindustan Aeronautics, the attack helicopter is equipped with air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, a 20-millimeter gun, and several 70-millimeter rockets to neutralize air and ground targets with the help of state-of-the-art avionics.
The aircraft is capable of rotating 360 degrees in mid-air and can operate in extreme temperatures.
Hindustan is now incorporating an improved electronic warfare suite, directional infrared countermeasures, additional air-to-ground missiles, an anti-radiation missile, and bombs into the attack helicopter.
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) November 19, 2021
Former Indian Air Force official Bhushan Gokhale is delighted that the service has inducted the light combat helicopter. He explained that the aircraft will be useful in various environments, including mountainous terrain.
He also stated his hope that indigenous developers will collaborate with the Defence Research and Development Organisation and other private defense manufacturers for other military equipment and weapon systems for India.
Meanwhile, military analyst Joseph P. Chacko told EurAsian Times that the aircraft could provide the Indian Air Force with a great tactical advantage in high altitude warfare.
He asserted that the helicopter can destroy enemy armor, convoys, bunkers, and other hard-to-reach targets along the country’s border with China.
“Attack helicopters are going to play a very important role in any future war,” Group Captain Badal Debnath said. “India needs an armed combat helicopter for effectively attacking enemy tank formations during battle. Introduction of [light combat helicopter] is a great way to make our airborne forces more potent.”