The Indian Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, said Friday that the Mi-8 helicopters will start to be phased out from next year.
"Some decision will have to be taken," he said.
Asked about the three AW-101 helicopters supplied by AugustaWestland for the elite Air Headquarters Communication Squadron, he two of these were in VVIP configuration while one was a cargo variant.
The defence ministry had concluded a contract with AgustaWestland in February 2010 for 12 AW-101 helicopters for 556.262 million euros (Rs.3,726.96 crore). The helicopters were ment to ferry the president, the prime minister and other VVIPs.
The defence ministry has frozen the contract after allegations of kickbacks against top officials of of the Anglo-Italian firm.
The three helicopters were received between November 2012 and Feb 2013.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had also slammed the defence ministry and the IAF for deviating from procedures in the AgustaWestland deal.
--IANS (Posted on 04-10-2013)