India receives final Mi-17V-5 helos, plans to order more
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has received the last of the Mil Mi-17V-5 'Hip' medium-lift platforms it ordered from Russian Helicopters, ahead of the expected signing soon of a contract for more, it was announced on 2 February.
Delivery of this final batch of the 151 Mi-17V-5 helicopters for India marks the end of a procurement programme launched in 2008 (including 12 ordered for India's paramilitary forces). In July 2015, the IAF announced its intention to procure 48 additional platforms, but it has yet to sign a contract.
Produced by JSC Kazan Helicopters through Rosoboronexport, the Mi-17V-5s fielded by India are among the most advanced variants of the 'Hip' helicopter family. They are equipped with more powerful engines for 'hot and high' conditions (the IAF has employed them to sustain Indian Army formations deployed along the 6.4 km-high Siachen glacier in the Himalayas) and the KNEI-8 avionics suite that replaces the previous analogue cockpit with modern digital instrumentation.
India has also issued a request for information for its fleet to be fitted with an advanced electronic warfare (EW) suite that comprises radar warning receivers (RWRs), missile approach warning systems (MAWS), and countermeasure dispensing systems (CMDS).
A growing mission for the IAF is humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR), and the service is looking to procure the additional helicopters specifically to give it more capacity in this role. In 2013 one of the Mi-17V-5 helicopters was lost while participating in rescue operations in the flood-affected north of India, killing five.
While most of the delivered Mi-17V-5 helicopters have been weaponised, it is not clear if the additional 48 will be.