The Indian Air Force has ordered 151 Mil Mi-17V5s from Russian Helicopters since 2008
In a major boost to its surveillance and operational capabilities, the Border Security Force has inducted two new advanced Mi-17 V5 into its Air Wing, which are tasked to carry air support missions for BSF troops along the borders and in the hinterland for anti-Naxal operations.
The Russian made choppers will significantly boost the flying capability of BSF as these advanced machines are capable of operating during night times in highly demanding environment. The choppers can also operate in some of the most arduous and inhospitable conditions at numerous locations.
The two new choppers will initially be based at the BSF hanger at Safdarjung airport. Armed with the latest avionics, these choppers with night flying capabilities will fulfill long-time requirement for Border Security Force of undertaking operations in Naxal violence affected zones.
BSF Air Wing has a fleet of four Fixed Wing (FW) aircraft(Embraer-01, Avro- 02 and SKA B-200- 01) and 13 helicopters operating under overall control of the Home Ministry.
BSF Air Wing has been providing required inputs for addressing threats to the internal security since 1969.
Rotary Wing fleet of the BSF consists of six Mi-17 1V, six ALH (Dhruv) and one Cheetah helicopter. These helicopters operate from various air bases of the BSF, including Ranchi, Raipur, Agartala, Srinagar and Safdarjung Airport, New Delhi.
Medium lift helicopters (MLH) Mi-17 1V fleet was inducted in BSF in 2003. These helicopters were procured under the Jammu and Kashmir action plan. The fleet, which was mainly used for air logistics and communication tasks, is also being deployed for disaster relief, Special Heliborne Operations (SHBO) for the National Security Guards, Anti-Naxal Operations, Counter Insurgency Operations, Air-maintenance of the remote Border Out Posts and Casualty Evacuation.
”The versatility of the MI-17 platform has opened up new avenues for additional tasks like reconnaissance, security, urban policing as well as VIP movement. There is an expanding operational requirement to augment our capacity of medium lift helicopters due to the dynamic nature of national security threats,” a BSF official said.
To meet the increased role and tasks that the Home Ministry has approved procurement of eight Mi-17 V5 helicopters for the BSF. The choppers were also being used by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Aviation Research centre (ARC).