New Delhi: India on Friday formally inducted its
latest Mi-17 V5 armed helicopters from Russia to enhance its
operational capabilities including carrying troops and cargo
to high altitude areas.
Marking the formal commissioning of the choppers in the
Indian Air Force (IAF), Defence Minister A K Antony
symbolically handed over its keys to the Commanding Officer of
one of the units operating the machines.
"The new Mi-17 helicopters will help in adding muscle to
IAF`s capabilities to carry out operations assigned to it",
the Defence Minister said while addressing the gathering of
senior IAF officials.
India has placed orders for 80 such choppers from Russia
and the first batch was inducted in the last week of September
The first three units of the helicopters will be raised
at Bhatinda (Punjab), Srinagar (J-K) and Bagdogra (West
Over 20 such flying machines have already arrived and are
deployed at various locations in the northern sector, Air
Force officials said.
The MI-17 V5 falls in armed helicopter category, with
substantial and effective firepower. It has the latest and
more powerful engines that will enhance its payload carrying
capability at higher altitudes.
"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 nystems," IAF officials said.
On the machine`s capabilities, they 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 proven
their mettle in UN missions.