Mi-17 V5 helicopter was inducted into the IAF on 17 February 2012. This helicopter falls in the category of armed helicopter, with substantial and effective firepower with the latest and more powerful engines that will greatly enhance its payload carriage capability at higher altitudes.
Mi-17 V5, an upgrade of Mi-17 in the medium -lift category, is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and onboard Navigation Systems. It is a glass cockpit variant; the first of its kind to get inducted into the IAF. It has onboard weather radar, state of the art autopilot and is compatible with the latest Generation (Gen-III) Night vision Goggles. With this, the helicopter can undertake all-weather, day and night operations in any kind of terrain. The helicopter is also equipped with a Bambi-Bucket that can be used for fire fighting. It is also fitted with a powerful winch — a feature useful in the Disaster Relief Operations in restricted areas where landing is not possible.
It has a modified loading ramp for faster loading and off-loading; apart from the traditional rear clamshells. A starboard door and a ‘Dolphin’ shaped nose section give it a unique identity. The entire airframe has a high degree of ballistics tolerance and is crash-resistant. It also comes equipped with an emergency flotation system. Its internal cabin volume is sufficient for transporting fully-equipped infantry soldiers for specialised operations.
Induction of Mi-17 V5 will enhance the capabilities of the IAF manifold in undertaking varied roles to face the challenges thrown in by unforgiving weather, hostile environment and difficult terrain in India. Indian Air Force first inducted helicopters in the year 1954. They have operated in Siachen Glacier, the highest battlefield in the world and have also proven their mettle in the UN missions. With the induction of Mi-17 V5, the capability and strength of the helicopter fleet in the IAF will increase significantly.
In 2008, India had signed an agreement with Russia to induct 80 Mi-17 V5 helicopters for strengthening IAF’s helicopter fleet for high altitude Air Maintenance Ops, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Mission and Transport Operations.
Wg Cdr R S Chauhan(Retd)