Chinese threat: Army to increase air capacity with Prashant in Assam’s Missamari

The Indian Army is all set to deploy its indigenous Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Prachand in Assam’s Missamari serving forward areas along the Line of Actual Control in Arunachal Pradesh. By the end of this month, the army will deploy four LCHs in Missamari, sources said.

Although the Army has already received three of the five LCHs sanctioned from the Center along with 10 for the Indian Air Force, they are still based in Bangalore. These will be forwarded and will be operational with four by the end of this month. The fifth will be delivered by November, sources said.

Read | The Air Force received the first light combat helicopter ‘Prasant’ made in India

Of the three Army Air Forces, one is headquartered at Missamari, while the other two are at Leh and Jodhpur.

The Missamari Aviation Brigade was raised in March 2021 to augment the Army’s aviation capabilities to support ground forces in the Eastern sector in the wake of growing Chinese military infrastructure. Augmenting the force, satellite imagery provides an accurate picture of Chinese operations across the LAC, with the addition of long-range surveillance drones, radars and night-vision capabilities.

The deployment of the LCH will be supplemented by the armed Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) Dhruva, the armed version of the ALH Rudra and the upgraded Israeli Heron UAVs.

The helicopter is capable of targeting ground positions, air and air combat for anti-tank and other offensive operations. It will be a powerful platform to meet the operational requirements of Indian Air Force and Indian Army. According to the plans, the Army needs 95 more of these helicopters, and the IAF has a demand for 65 more.

Since the start of the fighting with China in Ladakh in 2020, the army has been beefing up its air power to monitor further Chinese operations and recently to support ground forces.

Read more | ‘‘Flies like a butterfly, stings like a bee’: Indian Air Force pilots Prashant on new combat helicopter

The Army Aviation Corps includes helicopters that fly in conflict and peace zones. The Air Force is very important to the Indian Army as it is used to evacuate injured troops during operations at high altitudes or during medical emergencies. The Air Force was formed on 1 November 1986.

Not only has the Air Force played a key role in operations like Kargil in the past, it has also been at the forefront of various missions during the ongoing India-China standoff in Ladakh. Helicopters of the Army Aviation Corps are used for reconnaissance, surveillance, casualty evacuation, essential load-dropping, combat search and rescue.

Agility and maneuverability make the LCH a suitable choice for mountain warfare as it can take off and land with a payload even at an altitude of 16,000 feet.

The Indian Air Force launched the helicopter at a ceremony attended by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh in Jodhpur. The helicopter, manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), is suitable for performing missions such as combat search and rescue (CSAR), enemy air defense (TET), counter-insurgency (CI) operations, slow-moving aircraft and remotely piloted aircraft (CIT). RPAs), high altitude bunker busting operations.

The Cabinet Committee on Defense (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in March this year approved the purchase of 15 Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs) at a cost of Rs 3,887 crore and infrastructure blocks worth Rs 377 crore.

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