February 17, 2012

IAF to induct Russian Mi-17 V5 armed choppers today

India on Friday will formally induct its latest Mi-17 V5 armed helicopters from Russia that will greatly enhance its capabilities to carry troops and cargo at higher altitudes as well as help in combat operations.

With Russia delivering 21 of the 80 Mi-17s ordered under the $1.34-billion deal in 2008 till now, the induction ceremony will take place at the Palam airbase in the presence of defence minister A K Antony. As earlier reported by TOI, India is likely to go in for 59 more Mi-17s, after the first 80 have been inducted by around 2014, in what will cost the country another $1 billion.

IAF is going to deploy the first squadrons of the new Mi-17s, which will also make it possible for the force to spare some more helicopters for logistical support in the ongoing anti-naxal operations, at Bhatinda and Srinagar.

"These helicopter fall in the armed helicopter category, with substantial and effective firepower with the latest and more powerful engines that will greatly enhance its payload carriage capability at higher altitudes. The Mi-17 V5 is an upgrade of Mi-17, which we already have, in the medium-lift category and is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and on board Navigation Systems. It has on board weather radar, state of the art autopilot and is compatible with the latest-generation night vision goggles," said an official. 
Times of India

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