India is Russia’s biggest customer in weapons and equipment purchases, including helicopters. Some 121 Mi-17V-5 have been supplied over the past five years, with a total of 300 Mi-8 and export-designated Mi-17 currently in service with the Indian Air Force.
“Our capabilities are widely known: we can deliver up to 250 of just the Mi-8 helicopters a year,” Andrey Shibitov told RIA Novosti.
Speaking on the sidelines of the sixth international industrial exhibition Innoprom-2015 in the southwestern Russian city of Yekaterinburg, Shibitov said India’s fleet of Russian-made Mi-8s is in need of replacement.
The Mi-17V-5 is the newest in Russia’s Mi-8/17 helicopter family. Designed for personnel transportation, the vehicle can be equipped with weapons used in search and rescue operations.
During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India in December 2014, the countries agreed in principle to assemble 400 Mi-17 and Kamov-226T transport helicopters annually in India.