Integrated exercise Rudrakavach carried out between mechanized columns and Rudra attack helicopter squadron by the Western Command of the Indian Army

As part of their annual training cycle, formations of the Western Command are undertaking field exercises to validate operational concepts and hone their war fighting skills.

An integrated exercise, Rudra Kavach, was conducted between mechanised columns comprising tanks and infantry combat vehicles and the Rudra attack helicopter squadron by the Yol-based Rising Star Corps, with the Army stating that all mission parameters have been achieved.

The Jalandhar-based Vajra Corps also carried out a drill, described by the Army as a display of high level of synergy, precision and lethality by elements on the ground and Army aviation assets on the western front training grounds. Live ammunition was fired by armoured vehicles and Rudra during the exercise.
Rudra, the Army’s latest aviation combat platform, is the weaponised version of the Dhruv utility helicopter developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and is meant for providing close air support to manoeuvring ground formations. It is equipped with infrared and thermal imaging sights, a 20 mm nose gun and rocket pods, with provision for anti-tank guided missiles.

The Army operates about 58 Rudra helicopters, with another 20 in the pipeline. These have also been deployed in Ladakh following the stand-off with China along the Line of Actual Control and are expected to be an important element of high altitude deployment.

Apart from the Rudra, Army Aviation also has plans to induct over a hundred Light Combat Helicopter being developed by HAL.

Armed helicopters form an important element of combat capability and act as force multipliers. Heli-borne combat support to the Army is also provided by the Air Force with its AH-64 Apache, Mi-35 and Lancer helicopter gunships along with armed Mi-17 and Chetak helicopters.