The Indian Air Force (IAF) retired the last of its Soviet-era Mil Mi-8 ‘Hip’ medium-lift helicopters during a ceremony held at Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bangalore on 17 December.
Between 1972 and 1988, the IAF had inducted 10 Mi-8 squadrons that constituted the operational backbone of the service’s helicopter fleet for several decades.
In a statement the IAF said the Mi-8s were deployed in support of the India Army’s clandestine operation to seize control of the northern Siachen Glacier in 1984 as well as of the 1987–90 expeditionary campaign in Sri Lanka to disarm Tamil Tiger guerrillas.
The IAF also stated that the platforms, which are capable of ferrying a 4,000 kg payload, were frequently deployed on humanitarian and disaster relief operations as well as on patrols over the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago off India’s east coast.
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