New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday handed over to the armed forces indigenously-developed light combat helicopters (LCHs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and electronic warfare systems for the warships, in reflection of India’s focus to boost its domestic defence industry. At an event in Jhansi, the prime minister also laid the foundation stone of a Rs 400-crore project of Bharat Dynamics Ltd, a premier defence public sector undertaking.
Modi also launched an alumni association of the National Cadent Corps and a ‘National Programme of Simulation Training for NCC Cadets at the ‘Rashtra Raksha Samparpan Parv’.
The prime minister was registered as the first member of the NCC alumni association.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and several top military officials were among those present at the event.
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The light combat helicopter handed over by the prime minister to Chief of Air Staff Air Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari has been designed and developed by state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
The LCH, a twin-engine helicopter in the 5.8-tonne class, has advanced technologies and stealth features for effective combat roles. The chopper is designed to carry out multiple roles such as destruction of enemy air defence, counter-insurgency, search and rescue and anti-tank operations etc. ”The LCH is the only attack helicopter in the world that can land and take-off at an altitude of 5,000 m (16,400 ft) with a considerable load of weapons and fuel, according to the defence ministry.
Post-1999 Kargil war, the need to have an effective combat helicopter to deliver precision strikes at high altitudes was felt by the IAF. The design and development of LCH were sanctioned by the government in October 2006. Subsequently, the Indian Army joined the programme in December 2013 leading to a total projected requirement of 160 LCHs.
The prime minister also handed over drones, designed and developed by Indian startups, to the Indian Army.
The Indian Army has decided to procure these drones after detailed testing and trials. The electronic warfare systems were designed by the DRDO and manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). They have been manufactured for naval ships including that for Indian Aircraft Carrier Vikrant. Officials said the advanced EW suite will be used in different naval ships including destroyers and frigates.
In his address, Modi referred to the government’s decision to set up 100 Sainik schools.
”Today, on the one hand, the strength of our forces is increasing, but at the same time, the ground is also being prepared for the capable youth to protect the country in future,” he said.
”These 100 Sainik Schools, which will be started, will work in the coming times to give the future of the country in powerful hands,” he said, adding the government has started admission of ”daughters” in Sainik schools.
Modi said daughters like Rani Laxmibai will also emerge from Sainik schools and they will take the responsibility of defence, security and development of the country on their shoulders.
The prime minister also launched kiosks for paying tributes to the fallen heroes at National War Memorial (NMW).
The kiosks have been installed at the National War Memorial (NWM) to encourage visitors to register their presence and pay virtual homage to the fallen heroes.