New Delhi, Feb 16: India will induct its latest Mi-17 V5 armed helicopters from Russia that will greatly enhance its capabilities to carry troops and cargo at higher altitudes.
Defence Minister A K Antony will hand over the symbolic keys of the choppers to the IAF marking their formal commissioning, IAF officials said here.
India has placed orders for 80 such choppers from Russia and the first batch was inducted in service in the last week of September, 2011.
Over 20 such machines have already arrived and are deployed at various locations in the Northern sector, they said.
“This helicopter falls in armed helicopter category, with substantial and effective firepower with the latest and more powerful engines that will greatly enhance its payload carriage capability at higher altitudes,” IAF spokesperson said here.
The new choppers will augment IAF's fleet of Mi-17 IV helicopters.
“Mi-17 V5 is an upgrade of Mi-17 in the medium-lift category and is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and on board Navigation Systems,” he said.
Commenting on its capabilities, officials 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 the Siachen Glacier, and have also proven their mettle in UN missions.
India had signed an agreement with Russia to buy 80 helicopters for strengthening IAF's helicopter fleet for high altitude air maintenance operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mission, besides transport operations.