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Watch: Rajnath Singh undertakes sortie in 'Prachand', India-made Light Combat Helicopters

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New Delhi, Oct 03: The defence minister Rajnath Singh undertook a sortie on Monday hours after he inducted the first fleet of indigenously-built Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) named Prachand, which has been developed primarily for mountain warfare after a requirement for it was felt during the Kargil war in 1999. Developed by state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the 5.8-tonne twin-engine gunship chopper is armed with air-to-air missiles, 20 mm turret guns, rocket systems and other weapons.

Watch: Rajnath Singh undertakes sortie in Prachand, India-made Light Combat Helicopters

Soon after inducting the first batch of indigenously developed Light Combat Helicopters, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh shared a cinematic video of the chopper on Twitter with the caption, 'Prachand is the name'.

The 1 minute 2 second long video shows the chopper from various angles, including a bird's eye view, 360-degree rotation, flying shots, and also the view from inside the cockpit. Air Force pilots can be seen loading up ammunition into the guns, coordinating while in flight, and firing at a target.

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    The fleet comprising four helicopters was inducted into the IAF at a ceremony at the Jodhpur Air Force Station in presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and other senior military officials.

    The defence minister described the induction of the indigenously-built LCH into the IAF as a 'momentous occasion' for India's defence production. "Since independence, the IAF was dependent on foreign attack helicopters. The dire need to reduce this dependence was felt during the 1999 Kargil War. This is set to change now," said the defence minister at the event.

    The defence minister also complimented the IAF for reposing confidence in indigenously developed platforms. ''The defence of the nation is our top priority, and we are fully committed to it. I can say with full confidence that in the coming time, India will be first whenever there is talk of superpowers including military power in the world,'' Singh said.

    In March, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved the procurement of 15 indigenously developed Limited Series Production (LSP) LCH at a cost of Rs 3,887 crore. The defence ministry had said 10 helicopters would be for the IAF and five will be for the Indian Army. The induction of the chopper comes at a time India and China are locked in a military stand-off in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh.

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