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South Korean Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) is Challenging India’s LCH ‘Prachand’

  • Published
    30th Nov, 2022

India and South Korea are manufacturing similar lines of products, which has positioned them as competitors in the global export market.


  • India’s Tejas and South Korea’s FA-50 Light Combat Aircraft (LAC) can be seen competing for the Malaysian Light Attack Fighter contract.
  • The South Korean aircraft appears to be having a slight advantage over the Indian LCA.
  • South Korea has now also decided to accelerate the production of its Light Armed Helicopter.
  • It authorized a 5.75 trillion won (US$4.3 billion) plan to begin mass production of a homegrown light-armed helicopter (LAH) in the coming months.

India’s Light Combat Helicopter (LCH):

  • The LCH is the only attack helicopter in the world which can land and take off at an altitude of 5,000 meters with a considerable load of weapons and fuel.
  • The helicopter uses radar-absorbing material to lower radar signature and has a significantly crash-proof structure and landing gear.
  • A pressurized cabin offers protection from Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) contingencies.
  • The helicopter is equipped with a countermeasure dispensing system that protects it from enemy radars or infrared seekers of enemy missiles.
  • LCH is powered by two French-origin Shakti engines manufactured by the HAL.

KAI Light Armed Helicopter (LAH) of South Korea.

  • Project Type: Light-armed helicopter
  • Manufacturer: Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI)
  • Engine: The helicopter is powered by two Arriel 2L2 turboshaft engines.
  • First Flight: July 2019
  • Cruise Distance: 411 kilometres
  • Operation time: Two hours and 35 minutes
  • Armament: The rotorcraft is armed with a chin-mounted 20mm Gatling-type gun.


KAI Light Armed Helicopter (LAH)

Light Combat Helicopter (Prachand)

  • Weight: 4.9-ton
  • Weight: 5.8-ton
  • Maximum speed: 275 kmph
  • Maximum speed: 243 kmph
  • Maximum Range: 857 km
  • Maximum Range: 500 km
  • Utility: Destroying Tanks; light attacks; close-air support, escort, and troop transport.
  • Utility: Air-to-air operations; escort operations, support of combat search and rescue operations, and anti-tank and anti-infantry operations.
  • Equipment: four-axis automatic flight control system (AFCS), a helmet-mounted display, a fire control system (FCS), and an anti-jamming global positioning system (GPS).
  • Equipment: Electro-Optical Pod consisting of a CCD camera, FLIR, Laser Range Finder (LRF), and Laser Designator (LD)

High Altitude Operations: NO

  • High Altitude Operations: Yes. It is based on India’s unique security considerations, which are different from that of Seoul.

Challenges Related to the Defence Sector in India:

  • High Dependence on Imports: The defence sector in India relies heavily on imports, and changing geopolitical circumstances cause it to be delayed.
  • Narrow Private Participation: Private sector participation in the defence sector is constrained by the lack of a conducive financial framework, which means our defence production is unable to benefit from modern design, innovation, and product development.
  • Lack of Critical Technology: Lack of design capability, inadequate R&D investment, and inability to manufacture major subsystems and components hamper indigenous manufacturing.
  • Lack of Nexus Between Stakeholders: India's defence manufacturing capability is hindered by overlapping jurisdictions between the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Industrial Promotion.

AtmaNirbhar India in Defence:

  • Establishment of Defence Industrial Corridor
  • Modernization with Indigenization
  • Defense Manufacturing Ecosystem
  • Indigenisation with Private Boom
  • Defence Investor Cell
  • Inclusion of Defence Entrepreneurs in Policy Making
  • Strengthening the Economy with Strategic Independence

India’s Recent developments in the Defence Sector:

  • Defence India Startup Challenge
  • INS Vikrant: Aircraft Carrier
  • Dhanush: Long-range artillery gun
  • Arihant: Nuclear Submarine
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