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MI-17 V5 helicopter unit to be 'operational' from tom

Posted on Jan 31, 11:16AM | UNI

Kolkata, Jan 30 : The second newly raised Helicopter Unit (HU) under Eastern Air Command (EAC), equipped with the versatile Mi-17 V5, is set to be declared 'operational' by Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C), EAC, Air Marshal RK Sharma, on January 31, at Air Force Station, Barrackpore.

The Unit had received its first helicopter on June 29, last year. Even as more helicopters were being added to the unit to its full complement, the Mi-17 V5 of the unit while formulating their operating procedures in the eastern theatre were also deployed for relief during last year's flood in the eastern theatre.

A Mi-17 V5 HU is already operational at Bagdogra, in West Bengal for a year. The unit is also under the operational command of EAC.

The pilots of the unit will take to the sky for a formation flying sortie tomorrow. They will also demonstrate its operational capability. The AOC-in-C, who is also expected to fly, will later formally declare the HU, which has 'Tarkshya' as its adopted name, operational.

The medium lift Mi-17 V5 helicopter is equipped with modern avionics and navigation systems. It is the first glass-cockpit variant helicopter to be inducted into IAF. With substantial fire power, it falls into the category of an armed helicopter.

Its onboard weather radar and generation-III night vision goggles(NVG), coupled with electronic flight and instrument management system increase the envelope of its operations in weather, varied terrains and poor light conditions.

The helicopter is also equipped with a 'Bambi Bucket' fire fighting system. It is also fitted with loud hailers and powerful search lights for effective crowd control during disaster relief operations and urban area operations.

The unit has also successfully carried out trials for sea flying and electronic warfare.

These helicopters have been operating in high altitudes, air bridging the remote and inhospitable terrain of North-East and have carried out search and rescue missions over land and sea.