India is expected to start receiving its Mi-17-V5 heavy lift helicopters from March 2011 onwards. The 80 choppers had been ordered from Russia in December 2008 for $1.34 billion, making the single biggest helicopter deal in India.
India’s defence minister A.K. Antony told parliament today that The Mi-17-V5 helicopters will be utilised for Special Heliborne Operations, air-maintenance, transportation of troops and equipment, search and rescue, casualty evacuation and in armed helicopter roles.
A follow-on order for 59 additional Mi-17 helicopters is expected early next year, according the Indian Air Force (IAF) Chief P.V.Naik who was quoted as saying in a magazine interview. The Mi-17-V5 is expected to be a prominent attraction at Aero India 2011.