India gets Prachand: a domestic light helo armed with Mistral AAMs

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NEW DELHI ($1=81.66 Indian Rupees) — The Indian Air Force already has an Indian-made light helicopter. It’s called Prachand and today, October 3rd, it was officially commissioned. The event took place in Jodhpur. Indian sources claim that the helicopter has already been tested in Ladakh. According to them, Prachand will be capable of shooting down Chinese drones.

Photo credit: Twitter

As of now, India has ordered at least 15 units of the indigenous helicopter. The helicopter made its first flight at the end of March 2010, but its official presentation was last year. So far, according to open sources, India has built nine of the required 15 units. However, the first of these nine was officially delivered to the Indian Air Force just days ago – on September 29.

The Prachand helicopter was developed to meet Indian needs. I.e. Prachand will be able to operate at high altitudes – flying, firing, landing, and take-off. It is said to be over 6,500 meters above sea level.

More about Prachand LCH

The Indian helicopter is powered by two HAL/Turbomeca Shakti-1H1turboshaft engines, each providing 1,032 kW [1,384 shp]. The engines guarantee a maximum speed of 268 km/h [167 mph, 145 kn] and never exceed the speed of 330 km/h [205 mph, 178 kn]. With full fuel tanks, the helicopter has a maximum range of 550 km distance.

The helicopter’s armament is also impressive. Mistral 2 air-to-air missiles make a strong impression, considering that French missiles of this type are among the safest and most effective in the world.

The main armament of the helicopter is a 20 mm M621 cannon on a Nexter THL-20 turret. Apart from air-to-air missiles, the Prachand is armed with laser-guided missiles and anti-tank-guided missiles. It can also drop cluster munitions and unguided bombs.

The formal acceptance of the Indian helicopter into service with the Air Force comes just days after the Cabinet Committee on Security [CCS] approved the order of 15 Prachand helicopters.

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