New Delhi: Augmenting its chopper fleet, the
Indian Air Force will induct the first batch of Russian-origin
Mi-17 V5 helicopters by mid-October.
India had in 2008 signed a deal with Russia to induct 80
Mi-17 V5 helicopters for strengthening its chopper fleet for
humanitarian and disaster relief missions and transport
"We are going to induct the first batch of Mi-17 V5s
from Russia by the second week of the month, and by March next
year we will have 26 of them," an IAF official said here.
They said one of the first few helicopters would be sent
to the northeast sector and will be deployed at the Bagdogra
air base under the 156 helicopter Unit.
The complement of all 80 helicopters is likely to be
inducted by late 2013 or early 2014, IAF sources said.
The IAF is also looking to induct another 59 such
choppers to replace the older Mi-17 variants and the Mi-8
The IAF chopper fleet has also been augmented by the
induction of around 19 Mi-17 IVs which were operating in the
UN missions in Congo and Sudan.
"These missions have been closed and the choppers flown
back from there have been provided to units located in central
and eastern parts of the country," they said.
The Mi-35 attack helicopters, which were also part of
the UN operations, have been deployed in the desert sector and
an attack helicopter squadron has been revived at the
Suratgarh air base.
The IAF has plans of procuring over 230 helicopters
including heavy, medium and light utility and attack choppers.
It has also placed orders for procuring 12 VVIP
helicopters for ferrying the President, Prime Minister and
other important dignitaries in the country.