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'Gigantic' Mi-26 helicopter lifts bulldozers for road construction in Uttarakhand

14.07.2013 / The Times of India
Continuing with its Operation Rahat, the IAF's old but gigantic heavy-lift Mi-26 helicopter has flown four sorties since Friday to airlift 17,500-kg of equipment, including two bulldozers, required by the Border Roads Organization (BRO) to reconstruct roads in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand.

"The two bulldozers were heli-lifted from Pitthoragarh to Bangapani, which is 96-km away,'' said an official.

Overall, the IAF helicopters and aircraft since June 18 have airlifted about 21,560 people and thousands of kg relief material in around 2,790 sorties.

The Mi-26 is the world's largest and most powerful helicopter capable of lifting up to 20 tonnes. Having inducted four Mi-26s from Russia in the late-1980s, IAF is now left with only two of them.

They have used for heavy-lift operations, including the airlift of artillery guns to the Kargil heights during the 1999 conflict with Pakistan. "The Mi-26 will continue to operate in Uttarakhand to maintain supply of aviation fuel and rescue work as well as provide heli-lift to heavy equipment of the BRO for repair and construction work,'' said an officer.
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