Since the onset of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the international community is realising the importance of self-sufficiency, particularly in the defence manufacturing industry. Stepping up its game while being surrounded by two hostile nations; India is making great strides in the domain of indigenous weapons development. In the latest development, India has made a bid to achieve the Malaysian Light Attack Fighter contract to export the indigenously developed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Prachand.

Meanwhile, South Korea's Korean Aeronautics Limited Light-Armed Helicopter (KAL-LAH) is competing in the bid. Seoul along with New Delhi has significantly improved its capabilities in terms of defence manufacturing capabilities and achieved self-sufficiency. India and South Korea were among bidders like China, Turkey, Italy and Russia to compete for the multi-billion deal.

LCH Prachand Vs KAI LAH, Which One Is Better?

South Korea's FA-50 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) has been snatching international deals since the mid-to-late 2000s, thus giving its production a slight advantage over India, which introduced its LCA Tejas to the global market in early 2020. Meanwhile, India's formally inducted indigenous LCH Prachand into its Air Force last month.

However, unlike the FA-50, South Korea's LAH may not be deployed until late 2024, giving an advantage to India in the export game for Light-Armed rotorcraft. Dubbed the Prachand (Sanskrit word for “fierce”), the LCH is so far the world’s only such chopper that can take off and land at altitudes of up to 5,000 metres.

On the other hand, KAI's LAC is a twin-engine light-attack chopper based on the Eurocopter EC155. The helicopter is currently under development and reportedly will be capable of performing various mission roles, including reconnaissance, light attack, close air support, troop transport and escort. Unlike the civil variant, the KAI's chopper has a redesigned cockpit and rotor blades, in addition to an improved gearbox and survivability equipment.

In contrast to this, LCH Prachand's development was initiated after the intense 1999 Kargil War. Prachand is based on LCH's multi-role, light-attack, utility helicopter, HAL Dhruv. LCH Prachand's primary role is to serve as air defence. Furthermore, the rotorcraft is capable of performing traditional combat helicopter roles including Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) and anti-infantry and anti-tank operations.

LCH Prachand's glass cockpit comes equipped with an Integrated Avionics and Display System (IADS) along with extensive electronic warfare gear. This gear includes a radar warning receiver (RWR), a missile approach warning (MAW), and a system laser warning receiver (LWR).