As per the Army’s plans, each aviation brigade in future is to constitute three squadrons of helicopters. One squadron will comprise helicopters used for airlifting heavy equipment, the second will be used for recce purposes while the third squadron in the aviation brigade will perform the most crucial task of providing air support to the advancing battle tanks. Currently, the task of providing air-support to advancing troops in a battle-scenario is performed by attack helicopters of the Indian Air Force.
But the Army feels that it should have attack helicopters of its own to perform the task since the “aviation brigade is tailor-made” to move continuously with the Army formations on ground and maintain the “forward edge in the tactical battlefield area”. Currently, the Army does not have its own attack helicopters.
Attack helicopters that are being developed for the Army by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) are currently undergoing trials.
“Unplanned fleeting opportunities present themselves at different points in time and space, which, if not capitalised upon, lead to a standard toe to toe slugging match. The presence of aviation brigade headquarters in the tactical battlefield area negates these misses,” said a source.