India has picked Russian Helicopters to supply 12 VVIP choppers to be used to transport high profile leaders, the Rostec state corporation said in a press release.
The Mi-17V-5 helicopter was chosen by the country’s Special Protection Group (of the 150 helicopters already delivered to India) for escorting the most important politicians in India during the election season.
The announcement comes weeks after India cancelled the VVIP helicopter deal with AgustaWestland following bribery allegations.
Vadim Ligai, General Director of Kazan Helicopter Plant, said the Indian Mi-17V-5s are “fairly complex helicopters. Their development process certainly wasn’t easy.”
For example, they are not equipped with analog instruments, but have displays that are all grouped together in a ‘glass cockpit.’
By the end of 2014, Radio Electronic Technologies (KRET), which is part of the Rostec state corporation, will provide Russian Helicopters with 76 sets of high-tech avionics including KNEI-8 navigation and electronic instrumentation developed by Ryazan State Instrument Plant, which is part of KRET, according to the statement.
The helicopters feature evacuation systems and an anti-missile defence. All of the aircraft will be assigned to the government's communication squadron, which is part of the Indian Air Force's central command at Palam Airbase, according to Indrus.in.
The Russian Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters were first purchased during the Soviet era and are currently used to transport high ranking officials.
It is expected that they will be decommissioned in February and converted into Mi-17V-5 models. The helicopter renovations should be completed before the start of India's 2014 parliamentary elections, according to reports.