India is one of the world's largest Mi-8 and Mi-17 operators with over 200 aircraft in service. Source: ITAR-TASS
In November, India took the delivery of the first batch of 80 Mi-17V-5 helicopters ordered under a $1.345 billion deal in 2008.
A senior official at the Indian Defense Ministry confirmed to RIA Novosti that India was negotiating the purchase of an additional 59 helicopters from Russia. "The 59 more Mi-17s, which will cost around $1 billion, will be ordered under the follow-on clause in the first contract. They will also be weaponized for combat operations like the first 80," the paper said, referring to a well-informed source.
"The negotiations are, indeed, going on. Possibly, a contract on the delivery of this additional batch of Mi-17 helicopters will be signed already this financial year, i.e. before March 31, 2012," he said.
The helicopters are being built by Russian Helicopters' Kazan Helicopter Factory (KVZ) subsidiary.
The Mi-17V-5 is designed for utility cargo work and can carry up to 36 passengers or four tons. The machine features advanced multifunction cockpit displays and upgraded TV3-117VM engines.
India is one of the world's largest Mi-8 and Mi-17 operators with over 200 aircraft in service. The Mi-8/17 family is the most widely produced helicopter design in history, with over 11,000 delivered to more than 110 countries.
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