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Moscow : India and Russia are expected to ink a deal for around US$ 1.1 billion for 48 Mi-17V5 helicopters for the Indian Air Force (IAF) soon.
ÂNegotiations with the Indian side have been completed, and we hope to sign the contract in 2018, Â Russian Helicopters CEO Andrei Boginsk was quoted as saying by the state-run news agency RIA Novosti December 17. However sources told India Strategic that signatures should be appended on the deal by both the sides in the first quarter of 2018.
The company has already delivered 151 Mi-17 V5 helicopters to India beginning with a deal for 80 machines in 2008, and then another 71 under three follow-on contracts. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) of the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) had cleared the purchase of fifth lot of 48 of these military transport helicopters in September 2015.
The Mi-17 variants are now the mainstay of the IAF for heli-transporting troops across the country from the Himalayan Mountains to coastal areas. IAF has also converted the V5 variant for VVIP role now.
IAF had first acquired Mi-4 helicopters from the Soviet Union followed by Mi-8s, the last of which was ceremonially phased out on December 17 at a function in Bangalore.
Russian Helicopters is part of the Rostec State Corporation, an umbrella organisation uniting RussiaÂs military industrial complex and arms exporter Rosoboronexport (ROE).
Produced by Kazan Helicopter Plant, a unit of Russian Helicopters, the Mi-17 V5 supplied to India ranks among the most advanced helicopters of the Mil Design BureauÂs Mi-8/17 family and is capable of transporting troops and cargo inside the cabin as well as large size cargo like artillery guns on an external sling.
Russia, IndiaÂs biggest defence partner, has also sold another helicopter, Kamov Ka-226T to India. Most of these, however, are to be licence-produced by HAL in Bangalore.
All agreements with the Soviet Union and Russia are Government-to-Government (G-2-G).