New Delhi: Enhancing its role in assisting anti-naxal operations, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will deploy two Mi-17 IV helicopters in Jharkhand to help airlift troops and in casualty evacuation.

This will be in addition to the four helicopters deployed in Chhattisgarh to assist central and state police forces in anti-Naxal operations.

"There is a request for deploying two more helicopters at Ranchi. And thus we will have a total of six helicopters in these operations," IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said at a function here.

He said the force is "fully engaged" in supporting the paramilitary forces in anti-naxal operations with four Mi-17 helicopters deployed in Jagdalpur and Raipur in Chhatisgarh for the last two years.

Browne said the choppers would be used for "air maintenance, airlift and casualty evacuation in purely defensive roles" during the operations.

In 2009, the Defence Ministry had provided guidelines to the IAF for taking part in anti-Naxal operations saying that its helicopters should be fitted with light machine guns and one commando on board to counter fire from Naxals.

The IAF had sought permission to fire back at naxals during operations after one of its helicopters came under attack during electioneering in 2009 resulting in death of one of its air crew.

(Agencies)