New Delhi: Two advanced `Mi` series choppers are set to provide additional support to the BSF air wing in anti-Naxal and counter-insurgency operations in the country.
A pair of Mi-17-V5 helicopters is expected to be handed over to the Border Security Force by September-end for deployment in multi-theatre roles in the internal security domain of the country.
"We would be getting the two advanced Mi choppers by September. The new machines will be part of our air wing, which is tasked with aiding troops in anti-Naxal and counter- insurgency operations," BSF chief DK Pathak said.
These machines are expected to be initially based at the BSF facility in Delhi and may later be sent to an operational air base in the country, officials said.
The new Mi-17s (V-5 variant) are part of the first batch of the machines which will be delivered to the country`s largest border-guarding force under an eight-chopper package that the force is expected to get as part of the modernisation of its air fleet.
The new choppers will add to the existing fleet of 11 helicopters which are currently being used to ferry troops and material and in casualty evacuation in Naxal violence affected states. Both Indian Air Force and BSF choppers are part of this fleet.
These helicopters are advanced versions of the existing fleet of Mi-17s and will be equipped with sophisticated avionics and on-board navigation systems, making them more suitable for both day and night operations.
The Mi-17 V-5 helicopters have an on-board weather radar along with state-of-the art autopilot and latest night vision devices, which are not available in the Mi-17s.
BSF is the nodal authority for operating the air wing under the Home Ministry and its ALH `Dhruv` and Mi-17 choppers are used by all the seven paramilitary forces of the country for various tasks and by the elite counter-terror force NSG for training of commandos and also for travel of VVIPs.