India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) is concluding negotiations with Russia to acquire 48 additional Mi-17-V5 military transport/utility helicopters for USD1.1 billion for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
Official Indian sources told Jane’s on 23 July that the deal for the twin-engine helicopters – 38 of which are earmarked for the IAF – is likely to be signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India in early October for the annual bilateral summit between the leaders of the two countries.
The proposed deal also includes an offset obligation that requires all vendors to invest 30% of the overall contractual value of all military purchases over INR20 billion (USD290 million) into India’s defence, internal security, and aviation sectors.
The additional Mi-17-V5s are meant to supplement the 151 similar platforms that India acquired between 2008 and 2016, 139 of which were procured as weaponised versions for the IAF, with the remaining 12 being acquired for use by the MHA and the country’s paramilitary forces.
It is unclear, however, whether all 38 proposed platforms for the IAF will be weaponised.
Moreover, IAF sources said that some of the additional Mi-17-V5s might be used as replacements for the six to eight platforms that were diverted to the IAF’s Communication Squadron in 2015-16 to transport Indian VIPs. The diversion came after the MoD scrapped the import of 12 AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters from Italy in January 2014 following corruption allegations.
The IAF had initially acquired 90 Mi-17-1Vs in the late 1990s as replacements for the ageing Mi-8 ‘Pratap’ helicopters that were phased out in December 2017 after 45 years of service.
In 2008 the IAF procured 80 Mi-17-V5s for USD1.34 billion and followed this four years later by importing another 71 helicopters for USD1.53 billion, deliveries of which were completed by 2016–17.
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