New Delhi: The Indian Army awaits decision on anti-tank missiles for its indigenous Rudra armed helicopters. The HAL Rudra, also known as ALH-WSI, is an armed version of HAL Dhruv. Rudra is equipped with Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) and Thermal Imaging Sights Interface, a 20 mm turret gun, 70 mm rocket pods, anti-tank guided missiles and air-to-air missiles.
The Rudra has been manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and is the Weapon System Integrated (WSI) Dhruv Mark-4 armed version of the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH). Currently, Rudra has been equipped with French Nexter THL-20 chin mounted gun turret housing 20 mm M621 cannon and Belgian 70 mm rockets.
To meet the critical requirement of helicopter launched Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs), the army plans to procure the indigenously developed PROSPINA (NAG) ATGM. It was also reported that the government has mandated the DRDO to develop an alternative missile for the SPIKE which the Army plans to procure on a fast track basis. Both the Army and IAF plan to acquire 76 Rudra helicopters armed with guns, rockets and missiles.
Meanwhile, Lt Gen Kanwal Kumar, DG Army Aviation Corps flew the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) as part of a routine competence assessment test process in Bangalore. The LCH has been ordered in quantity by the Indian Army and will complement the Rudra in frontline service.
The LCH is light, manoeuvrable and armed with considerable devastating fire power. With its ability of manoeuvring through narrow valleys and mountains in high altitude areas, the LCH is to provide effective support to troops engaged in mountain warfare.