The Indian Army has tested the military concept of ‘Air Cavalry’ in the desert terrain of Rajasthan. This concept was used by the US Army to locate and assault enemy ground forces during the Vietnam War.
Weaponised helicopters carry out combined action against the enemy in coordination with tanks and mechanised ground forces during the exercise to enhance its defence capabilities. The Indian Army is looking forward to procure attack helicopters to strengthen its combat air assets. The concept of launching air attack in coordination with tanks will reshape the way the Indian Army will suppress the enemy attack.
The concept of ‘Air Cavalry’ was tried by the South Western command during recently concluded exercise ‘Vijay Prahar’. Detailed deliberation, sand-model discussions and war gaming were held before carrying out the concept.
In normal battle scenario, attack helicopters are called in only when required by the land forces to repulse the enemy attack if they found it difficult due to difficult terrain or for any other reason. Under the ‘Air Cavalry’ concept, attack helicopters are by default integrated with tanks and mechanised ground forces.
Apart from performing attack role, a fleet of armed helicopters usually carries out troop insertion in forward areas and performing on the spot aerial reconnaissance. The forces achieve more flexibility and fluidity, which enhance their combat capabilities. Under this concept, attack helicopters can hit targets efficiently in the shortest possible time. ‘Air Cavalry’ can be executed in different kind of terrains depending upon the feasibility.
As the Army is inducting helicopters equipped with ultra-modern sensors and high-precision weapons which will give a great boost to the Air Cavalry concept for protecting both eastern and western borders of the country.
The attack helicopters will be used as force multiplier and will increase the potency of ground forces to engage the targets, defence sources said. The concept will be crucial in the land battles in desert along the western front as well as in the eastern front where the terrain is mountainous.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is developing Light Combat Helicopter for the Army which can operate at high altitude. The Defence Ministry in August last year had approved the procurement of the army’s first fleet of Boeing’s six most advanced Apache helicopters. According to PTI, The ministry is purchasing these attack helicopters along with weapons systems at a cost of Rs 4,168 crore.