India chooses Russian helicopters for VVIPs | Russia & India ReportIndia has chosen Russian helicopters to transport the country's most important leaders, the Rostec state corporation said in a press release.
The Special Protection Group, which handles the security of the Indian prime minister, chose the Mi-17V-5 helicopter to transport Indian VVIPs. Of the 150 helicopters already delivered to India by Kazan Helicopter Plant (a subsidiary of Russian Helicopter company), 12 will be selected for escorting the most important politicians in India during the election season. This comes in the wake of Indian cancelling a corruption-ridden deal for helicopters from AgustaWestland.
Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters that are currently used to transport high ranking officials were bought back in the Soviet era. It is expected that they will be decommissioned in February and converted into Mi-17V-5 models. The helicopter renovations should be completed before the start of India's 2014 parliamentary elections.
Eight helicopters from the new batch were chosen to transport senior government officials and four were assigned to the Special Protection Group. The helicopters feature evacuation systems and an anti-missile defence. All of the aircraft will be assigned to the government's communication squadron, which is part of the Indian Air Force's central command at Palam Airbase.
India has been satisfied with its cooperation with Russia regarding the Mi-17 helicopter deliveries. Indian Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne stated that the pilots are pleased with the Mi-17V-5, which has been used by the Indian Air Force since 2012.
Vadim Ligai, General Director of Kazan Helicopter Plant, said the Indian Mi-17V-5s are "fairly complex helicopters. Their development process certainly wasn't easy." For example, they are not equipped with analog instruments, but have displays that are all grouped together in a 'glass cockpit.'
By the end of 2014, Radio Electronic Technologies (KRET), which is part of the Rostec state corporation, will provide Russian Helicopters with 76 sets of high-tech avionics including KNEI-8 navigation and electronic instrumentation developed by Ryazan State Instrument Plant, which is part of KRET.