The army has been enhancing its air power to support ground forces recently.

The Indian Army is all set to deploy the indigenous Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Prachand in Assam's Missamari that caters to the 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.

While the Army has already got three of the five LCH that were given a clearance from the Centre along with 10 for the Indian Air Force, they are still in Bengaluru. These will be forward deployed and will start operations with four by the end of this month. The fifth one will also be delivered by November, sources said.

One of the three Army Aviation brigades is headquartered in Missamari, the other two being in Leh and Jodhpur.

The Missamari Aviation Brigade was raised in March 2021 to ramp up the Army's air capabilities to support ground forces in the eastern sector in the wake of growing Chinese military infrastructure. With the raising of the brigade and induction of long-distance surveillance drones, radars and night vision capabilities, satellite imagery gives an accurate picture of Chinese activities across the LAC.

The deployment of LCH will be in addition to the weaponised Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) Dhruva, Rudra the weaponised version of ALH and upgraded Israeli Heron UAVs.

The helicopter is potent for anti-tank and other offensive operations to target ground positions and air to air combat. It would be a potent platform to meet the operational requirements of the Indian Air Force and the Indian Army. As per plans, the Army needs another 95 of these helicopters while the IAF's demand is for 65 more.

The Army has been enhancing its air power to support ground forces recently, since the beginning of the tussle with China in Ladakh in 2020, and also to keep an eye on Chinese activities.

The Army Aviation Corps comprises helicopters that fly in conflict and peace zones. The aviation corps is critical for the Indian Army as it’s pressed into action for evacuation of injured troops during operations or health emergencies in high altitude areas. The Army Aviation Corps was raised on November 1 in 1986.

Not only has the aviation corps played an important role in the past in operations like Kargil, but it has also been at the forefront of carrying out varied tasks during the ongoing India-China standoff in Ladakh. Army Aviation Corps’ choppers are being used for reconnaissance, observation, casualty evacuation, essential load drops, combat search and rescue.

The agility and manoeuvrability make the LCH an appropriate choice for mountain warfare as it can take off and land with a payload even at 16,000 feet.

The IAF inducted the helicopter in Jodhpur in a ceremony attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The helicopter manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is suited to perform roles of Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Destruction of Enemy Air Defence (DEAD), Counter Insurgency (CI) operations, take on slow moving aircraft and Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAs), high altitude bunker busting operations.

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved procurement of 15 Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) at a cost of Rs 3,887 crore along with infrastructure sanctions worth Rs 377 crore in March this year.