New Delhi: Aiming at strengthening its
medium-lift helicopter fleet, the IAF is planning to procure
71 more Mi-17 V5 choppers, including 12 for the Ministry of
These would be in addition to the 80 already ordered from
The MI-17 V5 falls in armed helicopter category, with
substantial and effective firepower. It has latest and more
powerful engines that enhance its payload carrying capability
at higher altitudes.
Of the 80 choppers ordered earlier, Defence Minister A K
Antony formally inducted their first batch on Friday.
Of the 71 helicopters to be ordered, 59 would be provided
to the IAF for replacing its old Mi-8 and Mi-17IV choppers and
six would be given to the Border Security Force.
The remaining six would be distributed among the other
central armed police forces, IAF officials said.
Earlier the IAF was proceeding with the acquisition of 59
choppers only but later on the MHA requested to club its
requirements also in the same Defence Ministry proposal, they
In 2008, India had signed a deal with Russia to supply 80
Mi-17s to augment its existing fleet of around 150 Mi-8 and
Mi-17 medium-lift choppers, which have over five tonne load
carrying capability and are also used to ferry troops and
IAF had felt the need of inducting more medium-lift
choppers after a spate of natural disasters following the
tsunami in December 2004 and heavy snowfall in Kashmir in
The Mi-17 V5 is an upgrade of Mi-17 choppers in the
medium-lift category and is equipped with state-of-the-art
avionics and on board navigation systems.
On the machine`s capabilities, an IAF official said, "It
has on-board weather radar, state-of-the-art autopilot and is
compatible with the latest generation night vision goggles."
The Mi-17 variants have operated in various types of
terrain, including Siachen Glacier, and have also proved their
mettle in UN missions.