The phasing out ceremony of the Indian Air Force (IAF) MI-8 Helicopters also known as the “PRATAP” was held on Sunday at the IAF station in Bengalore.
The MI-8 helicopters arrived in India in the year 1971 at Bombay and were formally inducted in the Indian Air Force helicopter inventory in the year 1972. Between 1971 and 1988, Indian Air Force inducted 107 MI-8 helicopters, rechristened as “PRATAP”. MI-8’s served for 45 years.
The MI-8, PRATAP was inducted in ten operational helicopter units and it operated in several major IAF operations including Operation Meghdoot in the Siachen Glacier and Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka.
The helicopter also operated extensively in Humanitarian and Disaster Relief operations across the length and breadth of the country. The MI-8 has also been associated with VIP/VVIP flying for over decades.
MI-8 has left an indelible mark on the future by providing the Indian Air Force with a lineage of professional helicopter aircrew. 112 Helicopter Unit based here at the Air Force Station, Yelahanka, is the last unit to operate this formidable platform.
MI-8 has been the backbone of medium lift combat capability of Indian Air Force and was ideal platform for graduation of MLH aircrew.
The IAF has since ordered newer and improved versions of Mi family of helicopters.