The Russian-made Mi-17 V5 choppers will boost the flying capability of central paramilitary forces that are deployed for a variety of internal security tasks in some of the most arduous and inhospitable conditions at numerous locations.

"Two new Mi-17 V5's are in India now. The choppers are flying for trials in various parts of the country and will be soon inducted in the BSF air wing," a senior official said.
    
The official said the choppers have been initially based at the BSF hangar at Safdarjung airport here and are expected to be formally inducted into the fleet by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on April 9.

The new pair, sources said, are expected to be tasked for anti-Naxal operations and with their new bases in Chhattisgarh (Jagdalpur) and Odisha (Koraput).
    
What makes the induction of these new choppers important, the sources said, is that these flying machines are armed with the latest avionics and night flying capabilities which has been a long-time requirement for security forces undertaking operations in Naxal violence affected zones.
    
"The existing IAF and Dhruv fleet of BSF were not very much equipped to undertake casualty evacuation or troop insertion exercises during evening hours. These new choppers can now undertake night landings at designated bases," they said, adding they will be used to transport men and logistics.

These improved versions of the Mi-17 helicopters were initially supposed to be handed over to BSF by Russians in September last year but due to some glitches the delivery could not take place.
    
A team from Russia had come to meet senior Home Ministry officials in November last and after this, the delivery time was fixed in March 2015, they said.

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