The Mi-17 V5 armed helicopter is scheduled to be inducted into the IAF Friday, 17 February 2012. The Mi-17 V5 includes substantial and effective firepower with the latest and more powerful engines that greatly enhance its payload carriage capability at higher altitudes.
In 2008, India had signed an agreement with Russia to induct 80 Mi-17 V5 helicopters for strengthening IAF's helicopter fleet for high altitude air maintenance operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mission and transport operations.
An upgrade of Mi-17 in the medium -lift category, the Mi-17 V5 is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and onboard navigation systems, a glass cockpit and is the first of its kind to be inducted into the IAF.
The craft has onboard weather radar, state of the art autopilot and is compatible with the latest Gen-III night vision goggles. This enables the helicopter to undertake all-weather, day and night operations in any kind of terrain. The helicopter is also equipped for fire fighting and disaster relief operations in restricted areas where landing is not possible.
Mi-17 V5 has a modified loading ramp for faster loading and off-loading; apart from the traditional rear clamshells. It has a starboard door and a 'dolphin' shaped nose section and the entire airframe has a high degree of ballistics tolerance and is crash-resistant. It also comes equipped with an emergency flotation system. Its internal cabin volume is sufficient for transporting fully-equipped infantry soldiers for specialised operations.
Induction of Mi-17 V5 will enhance the capabilities of the IAF in undertaking varied roles in inclement weather, hostile environment and difficult terrain.
Indian Air Force helicopters have operated in Siachen Glacier, the highest battlefield in the world and been used in UN missions.