New Delhi: The BSF air wing will get two new advanced military helicopters by this year-end for aiding security forces in anti-Naxal operations.
The new choppers, Mi-17 (V-5 variants), are part of the first batch of the machines which will be delivered to the Border Security Force under the eight-helicopter deal that the force is expected to get as part of modernisation of its air fleet.
"We are hopeful of getting two helicopters by this year-end, preferably in September. This is part of the eight- chopper package that our air wing is supposed to get," BSF chief Subhash Joshi told PTI.
The new choppers will add to the existing fleet of eleven helicopters which are currently tasked to carry troops, material and casualty evacuation in Naxal violence affected states. Both Indian Air Force and BSF choppers are part of this existing fleet.
Joshi said the new choppers are expected to be deployed first in the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) theatre.
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 in Naxal-affected areas.
The Mi-17 V-5 helicopters have an on-board weather radar along with the state-of-the art autopilot and latest night vision devices which are at present not available with the Mi-17s.
The BSF, country`s largest border guarding force, 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 like CRPF, ITBP, SSB, CISF, Assam Rifles for various tasks and by the elite counter-terror force NSG for training of commandos and VIP travel.