HAL Prachand – India’s Himalayan warrior

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History

Since its independence from United Kingdom in 1947, India has been involved multiple wars with Pakistan and China in 1948, 1962, 1965, 1971 and 1999. In none of the wars before the 1999 Kargil War the attack helicopters played any major role with the Indian armed force. Only with the introduction of Mi 24/35 in Indian Air Force in 1980s did India get a significant number of attack helicopters in its inventory which were ultimately used by Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka from 1987 to 1990 to end the Sri Lankan civil war.

During the Kargil War in 1999, Indian Armed Forces were unable to use the attack helicopters in its inventory to any significant effect due to technical limitations faced by the Mi 24/35 helicopters which could not fly to the heights of Kargil occupied by Pakistani Forces. Other than the Mi 24/35, Mi 8 were also used to attack the heights of Kargil but were not as maneuverable due to which one of the Mi 8 fell prey to a Stinger missile resulting in its loss with 4 personnels on board. After this loss, all helicopters were restricted from going to frontlines and supported in casualty evacuation from safe distance.

Due to the experience of Kargil, the Indian Armed Forces felt an immediate need of an attack helicopter that would be capable of assaulting enemy positions in the highest battlefields that are in the Himalayas bordering both Pakistan and China.

Introduction

Post Kargil War, Indian Armed Forces started looking for a foreign dedicated helicopter capable of fighting in the high mountains but was unsuccessful and hence the program was cancelled which gave birth to the Light Combat Helicopter program from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The first confirmation of this program came from HAL in 2006 when it was said that the development of the attack helicopter has been started. The first flight for the helicopter was achieved on 29 March 2010 after which there were 4 Technology Demonstrators were built by HAL.

The testing for LCH was protracted and went through rigorous testing procedure which covered the hot summers of That Desert as well as the chilly winter nights of Himalayas. All the testing for this helicopter was completed in January 2019 when it was declared by HAL that it has completed testing and is available for induction. Subsequently it was ready for production in February 2020 post which the helicopters started production as Limited Series Production version of the aircraft.

During the India China border standoff, HAL Prachand was deployed in eastern Ladakh for performing armed patrol sorties with its Technology Demonstrator aircrafts which showed the confidence of the forces in the quality of aircraft and its ability to perform effectively in the mountainous terrain.

Design

The HAL Prachand has been designed as a multi role attack helicopter for Indian Armed Forces to be operated in multiple battlefield environments with very high flight profile and multiple attack profiles. The complete design and development of this helicopter has been done by Rotary Wing Research and Design Centre of HAL.

The helicopter is equipped with a tandem seating configuration for the pilot and co-pilot/gunner. Like most of the attack helicopters, it also has a narrow fuselage with stealth profiling, armour protection and day and night combat capability. It also has an Infrared Suppressor installed on its engine exhaust to reduce its thermal profile.

From its inception the LCH program was decided to be based on the ALH program of HAL from 1990s out of which HAL Dhruv was born. Like the HAL Dhruv, the LCH is a twin engine helicopter that shares the same engine which is Shakti-1H1. The engine has been co-developed through a joint development between HAL and Safran and is based on the Safran Ardiden Turboshaft engines that generate 1000-1500 kW of energy.

Armament

Guns: 1 x 20mm M621 cannon on Nexter THL-20 turret

Rockets: 4 x 12 FZ275 LGR

Missiles: 4 x 2 Mistral Air to Air Missiles, 4 x 4 Dhruvastra Air to Ground Missiles (Planned)

Bombs: 2 x HSLD-250 (planned)

Self Defence: Missile Approach Warning System, SAAB radar and laser warning system, Chaff and Flare dispensers

Sensor: Elbit CoMPASS optoelectronic suite

Technical Specification:

Crew: 2

Length: 15.8m

Wingspan: 4.60m

Height: 4.70m

Empty Weight: 2,250 kg

Max Takeoff Weight: 5800 kg

Payload: 1750 kg

Powerplant: 2 x HAL/Turbomeca Shakti 1H1 turboshaft, 1000-1500kw (1,400- 2000 shp) each

Main Rotor Diameter: 13.2 m

Performance

Maximum Speed: 268km/hr

Never Exceed Speed: 330km/hr

Range: 550km with weapons

Endurance: 3h 10m

Service Ceiling: 6,500m (21,300ft)

Rate of Climb: 12m/s

Sources:

'Light Combat Helicopter LCH Outperformed Other Aircraft In Ladakh' - Rediff.com India News

HAL Prachand - Wikipedia

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2 Likes

Cool; +1
also why was india put in UK lol like it belongs to russian TT

2 Likes

what

5 Likes

+1, its cuz of commonwealth

1 Like

Why would it be in the Russian tree!?

i would rather be in a TT that my country cooperates with militarily rather than a TT that my country was enslaved to

5 Likes

That’s fair and an excellent point; but surely an independent tree is better? Especially given it only makes sense for India to be in the Russian TT for modern vehicles, for historic vehicles it would almost definitely make more sense in the British tree?

Tbh I think the only solution to all this is to scrap the “Tree” system and have one huge interconnected web, organised by operator-country (The matchmaker is mostly mixed teams now anyway and it wouldn’t affect Sim so like)

1 Like

id simply go with an independent TT, scrapping the TT system would be chaotic

You know Indian has stopped buying from the Russians and their main IR missiles is British right

And in the past also bought from Britain

hungary uses the gripen…

Your point

Chaotic, but imo worth it - we could so many cool one-offs and weird collabs XD

1 Like

just because there exists some level of links between militaries doesnt mean that thye can be folderd into one another.
the majority must be taken into account.
id much like to not see T-90s etc in the british TT or M1 abrams or challengers in russian TT
due to the vast amount of indo-russian cooperation in the military, we should not have india be a colony of britian once again in a game.
let it be a russian subtree with russian/russian-origin vehicles or an independent TT

1 Like

Yeah but this heil has nothing to do with russia
And why a Russian sub tree with only the vechiles with Russian orgins is point less

1 Like

granted this has nothing to do with russia, and allow me to rephrase, “a subtree with all non western indian vehicles” should be implemented if not a full indep TT

That a tank Russian has with out APS
A plane that they would get anyway
A su30 with Western missiles

Quite a strange suggestion

so you can understand the issue when we have russian equipment in britain
its the same as british equipment in russia
although lets be fair, missiles are a smaller thing than aircraft.
hence according to %age, russia is the more sensible option

I don’t see the issue

Reminds me these discussion about adding VT-4 from Thai to Japan TT…

+1 for an Indian TT

2 Likes