MHA plans to buy six Mi-17V-5 helicopters

New Delhi, Feb 3: The Home Ministry has decided to buy six Mi-17V-5 helicopters from Russia to assist its forces engaged in internal security duties, including anti-Naxal operations. The decision came days after the Ministry's entire fleet of indigenous Dhruv helicopters was grounded following a series of mishaps.

The Mi-17V-5 is designed for utility cargo work and can carry up to 36 passengers or four tons of weight. The machine features advanced multifunction cockpit displays and upgraded TV3-117VM engines. The helicopters are being built by Russian Helicopters' Kazan Helicopter Factory (KVZ) subsidiary.

"The Home Ministry has asked the Defence Ministry to help it out in buying the choppers," an official said. The MoD is negotiating purchase of 59 Mi-17s after its first order of 80 such helicopters to the Russian company.

"The MoD has been asked to buy six helicopters in addition to their actual requirement. The MHA will use the six helicopters," the official said. On Tuesday, Chidambaram had said that he had authorised wet leasing of some helicopters and was also looking for buying some more choppers for use by the security forces.

"...I think unless we find a replacement for the Dhruv helicopters, we would have to do with the Mi helicopters (of Indian Air Force)," he had said. The Border Security Force maintains the fleet of Dhruv helicopters. Before the crashes near Ranchi and Raipur, it had seven Dhruvs.


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