As we hunker down for this viral lockdown, we at Livefist hope you’re doing okay and staying well. We’ve had a bit of downtime as Editor Shiv Aroor gets busy reporting on the Covid19 crisis in India, but we’re getting set this week to be back to our regular reports. Thought we’d quickly drop something off that caught our eye over the weekend.
Indian aviation filmmaker Abhishek Singh (we’ve featured him here before) just put out a quick clip of one of his legendary shoots, this time with the Indian Air Force’s HAL Rudras. We love shoots that get you up close with operators themselves.
The Rudras are being purchased in healthy numbers by the IAF (16) and Army (78), but there are glaring questions that Livefist has been at the forefront of asking — for instance, is someone trying to derail the arming of these helicopters? The current MoD hasn’t made visible progress yet in correcting the inexplicable failure of the system so far to give these helicopters (and HAL’s purpose-built Light Combat Helicopter) its primary weaponry. There’s a lingering perversity in armed helicopters flying without anti-armour missiles and without anti-air missiles despite having contracted for the launchers for years. That last bit is a story all on its own, and we did that here.
While the Army has managed to procure a quantity of Israeli Spike LR anti-tank guided missile systems for infantry units deployed at the Line of Control (LoC), it hasn’t managed to conclude a decision on giving the Rudra and LCH either the helo-launched Spike ER or the MBDA PARS L3.
While we’re informed that the weaponry impasse is being ‘looked at’, it isn’t like to be sorted this year. Add the Coronavirus crisis to the mix, and, quite reasonably, nothing’s on the table until this cloud clears. Having said that, there’s likely to be some good news on the Light Combat Helicopter front later this year in the post-Covid19 world, with first orders likely to drop. Obviously, we’ll have to wait and see how the rest of the year pans out.
Livefist’s Shiv Aroor dedicated the latest episode of his weekly TV show on weapons tech BattleCry on India’s armed helicopter landscape. You can watch that full episode here: