Following the induction of the newly-acquired Russian built Mi-17V5 helicopter into the IAF Squadron at Jamnagar on Wednesday, the Air Force managed to increase its load carrying capacity for the country’s border with Pakistan in Gujarat.
The helicopters, which could be modified for VIP travel in the future, was formally handed over to the unit by South Western Air Command chief Daljit Singh in the presence of Jamnagar Station Commander P R Navalkar.
To mark the induction of the new flying machines, the helicopters were rolled through water cannon, in line with the IAF’s traditional welcome for new inductions.
Air Marshal Singh told the unit that the new induction could potentially increase the unit’s cargo carrying capabilities, apart from expanding the scope of its missions in its area of responsibility, especially the Saurashtra and Kutch regions.
The multi-purpose Mi-17V5 is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and navigation systems like the on board weather radar and autopilot. It also has advanced night-vision equipment and a glass cockpit. It is a medium-lift helicopter, which can carry a load of over five tonnes.
The Jamnagar-based Helicopter Unit’s history dates back to March 1972 in Gauhati. In recent years, it is the home base for the Mi-8 choppers, the workhorse of the IAF’s Helicopter Fleet.
In its 43-year-long existence, the unit has served all over the country and across the spectrum of helicopter operations. It has participated in relief operations during natural calamities in Gujarat since it relocated to Jamnagar in 1990.