IAF chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said on Wednesday that the force would set up a new helicopter unit comprising Russian Mi-17V5 helicopters at Nagpur for transporting troops, equipment and casualties.
Browne said the new unit will be set up by next month and it will back anti-Maoist operations in Jagdalpur.
The IAF chief said that the decision to set up the Nagpur unit was taken long before the gruesome May 25 Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh that left 27 Congress men, including top state leaders, dead.
The IAF now operates six Mi-17IV helicopters from its Gorakhpur unit, which support anti-Naxal operations in Ranchi in Jharkhand and Raipur and Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh. Browne said it is necessary to deploy new systems to provide better surveillance capabilities to the security forces in the Maoist-hit areas.
The IAF chief said they would get three C-17 Globemaster heavy-lift aircraft from Beoing in June. These aircraft will be based at Hindon air base in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.
Besids, contract negotiations are on with respect to five key procurement deals worth Rs 12 lakh crore and they include: 126 Rafale aircraft, 22 Apache helicopters, Lockheed Martin's six C-130J strategic-lift planes, 15 Chinook heavy-lift copters and six Airbus MRTT midair refueler planes.