By Ajit K DubeyNew Delhi [India], September 29 (ANI): In what could be termed as one of the biggest pushes for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' in the defence sector, the Indian Air Force is going to place orders for 156 more Prachand Light Combat Helicopters, with HAL, which would be deployed at both the China and Pakistan front by the IAF and the Indian Army.
The two services have already inducted 15 of these choppers in their fleet in the last 15 months after holding trials in the most extreme weather conditions and terrain in the world.
"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 told ANI.
Recently, Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari had announced from foreign soil about the force's intent to buy around 100 more Light Combat Aircraft Mark 1A to push indigenisation.
The combined total of the two projects in terms of worth is over Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
Of the 156 choppers, 66 would be inducted by the Indian Air Force while the rest 90 would be acquired 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 attack helicopter has been built as per the requirements of the Indian armed forces to operate both in 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.
It 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.
It is also going to be equipped with newer Dhruvastra air-to-ground missiles which can destroy hardened shelters of the enemy in high altitude as well as other terrain.
The IAF is also buying a significant number of these choppers to keep the machines ready for export requirements and sale to friendly foreign countries.
The number of these choppers in the services is expected to go beyond 300 to meet full military requirements and is also expected to find buyers in the export markets soon. (ANI)