Russian Helicopters has announced delivery of six overhauled Mi-17-1V helicopters to India’s Border Security Force. Work on the helicopters were carried out at Novosibirsk Aircraft Repair Plant (NARP).
All six helicopters were originally supplied to the Border Security Force on a loan basis by the Indian Air Force for internal anti-insurgency operations.
In a statement, Igor Chechikov, deputy director general for after-sales support services at Russian Helicopters, said: “NARP performs activities associated with the repair and overhaul of Mi-8/17 type helicopters for the whole range of foreign operators, however, the contract with the Border Security Force has been implemented for the first time. During the acceptance the customer’s delegation got familiarised with the results of performed activities and technologies applied at the enterprise.
“The plant has been highly praised by the Indian military specialists and now further co-operation is being discussed,” Chechikov added.
Details of the overhaul work remains scarce, but Russian Helicopters stated that NARP engineers “carried out a complete cycle of activities”.
The six Kazan-built Mi-17-1V helicopters have been handed over to the customer and will shortly be delivered to their permanent home base. Once here, final acceptance will be completed after a series of check flights.
Border Security Force
Alexey Belikh, managing director of NARP, explained that the Border Security Force “is an independent military unit in the Ministry of Home Affairs of India and it is considered as the largest border security force in the world – that is why this co-operation means high quality evaluation of our activities and huge experience.”
A small air wing for the Border Security Force was first established in the 1980s. In the past it has flown a number of Beech King Air 200s, Douglas DC-3s and HAL (BAe) 748s, although the last two types had been retired by the late 1990s. One of the five Embraer Legacies ordered by India was delivered to the Border Security Force Air Wing as a VIP transport.
The air wing has also sought to acquire a tactical transport in the last decade. In the past it was suggested that one of the Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules for the Indian Air Force might be destined for eventual use by the Border Security Force.
India’s Ministry of Home Affairs announced its plan to acquire six Mi-17V-5s for the Border Security Force in February 2012. These were to be added to a large order negotiated by the Ministry of Defence on behalf of the Indian Air Force. It is clear if this part of the order was ever approved, and it’s possible that they have been supplanted by the Mi-17-1Vs loaned from the air force.