New Delhi: Strengthening the capabilities of Indian Air Force (IAF), the Union Ministry of Defence formally inducted 20 latest Mi-17 V5 armed helicopters out of the 80 choppers sanctioned from Russia. It would help to carry troops and cargo to high altitude areas.

Addressing senior IAF officials, Defence Minister A K Antony said, “The new Mi-17 helicopters will help in adding muscle to IAF's capabilities to carry out operations assigned to it".

The MI-17 V5 falls in armed helicopter category, with substantial and effective firepower. It has the latest and more powerful engines that will enhance its payload carrying capability at higher altitudes.

"The Mi-17 V5 is an upgrade of Mi-17 choppers in the medium-lift category and is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and on board navigation systems," IAF officials said.

The other capabilities of the chopper include on- board weather radar, state-of-the-art autopilot and are compatible with the latest generation night vision goggles.

In 2008, India signed a deal with Russia for 80 MI-17 V5 helicopters.  On September 2011 India received 20 choppers. The first three units of the helicopters will be stationed at Bagdogra, Srinagar and Bhatinda.

It needs to be mentioned that the Mi-17 variants have operated in various types of terrain, including Siachen Glacier.