Indian Mi-17-V5 Copter To Be Based In Punjab

Mi-17-V5
Mi-17-V5
A more powerful and versatile variant
of the Mi-17 military chopper is slated to arrive from Russia in 2-3
weeks to beef up the Indian Air Force fleet. It will be based in Punjab. 
Sources confirmed that the
first lot of the latest Mi-17-V5 is to arrive in the next couple of
weeks and will be stationed at a major airbase in the southern part of
Punjab. The location has been chosen with care to cater to surrounding
areas.
Originally, the first
lot of Mi-17-V5 was expected arrive in March. These are part of the 80
choppers India ordered from Russia in 2008 by signing a contract with
Rosoboronexport, the state arms exporter. According to the Indian
Ministry of Defence, the deal is worth $1.35 billion (Rs 6,000 crore).
The
IAF aims to utilise the Mi-17-V5 helicopters for special heli-borne
operations, air-maintenance, transportation of troops and equipment,
search and rescue, casualty evacuation and in armed helicopter roles.
For
long, Mi-17 chopper variants have been used by para-commandos of the
Army and also the Special Operations Group of the NSG. The latest
variant will be able to drop 25 troops in one go and from multiple
on-board exit points.
At
present, the Mi-17-IV version of the chopper is the latest variant in
the IAF fleet. The last lot was inducted between 2000 and 2004. The IAF
has been operating various types on ‘Mi’ series choppers in the past 40
years. This includes the famous heli-borne operations to drop guns and
troops in East Pakistan and also its use during the initial stages of
the Kargil war in 1999. The chopper is considered a workhorse in the
far-flung areas of Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh in the
Himalayas.
Strategically,
India neighbours – Pakistan and China – also operate Mi-17 choppers.
While Pakistan has got a few Mi-17-V5 choppers through the US that
purchased the same for Afghanistan, China has a joint production
agreement with Russia, but is yet to get the Mi-17-V5.
The
new variant will have the ability to allow the pilots to start the
engines at altitudes of 6,000 m (about 21,000 ft) thus helping in
servicing various high-altitude posts in the Himalayas. Each of the two
engines can generate 2,200 hp of power. This is a significant
improvement over the previous version which has two engines of 1,950 hp
each.

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