"About ten of the new Mi-8MTV-5 [the domestic designation for the Mi-17V-5] military transport helicopters have entered into the army aviation brigade in the Western Military District, stationed in the Pskov region," Kochetkov told RIA Novosti. "It is expected that by the end of the month, the brigade will receive another [shipment]," he added.
The district's pilots and aircrew have been undergoing training in order to familiarize them with the new equipment, and regular flights will begin soon. Given that the helicopter is designed to operate in a wide variety of environmental and geographic conditions, pilots have been undergoing flight simulator training, including takeoff and landing on makeshift airfields, aircraft carriers and in mountainous terrain. The training is also said to have included preparation for emergency situations, and the use of weaponry.
The Mi-17V-5 is the latest modification to the successful, time-tested Mi-8 design, which was recently rated third among Flightglobal's 2015 'Top 10' most popular military aviation designs for 2015. The modification, presently in use by Afghan Security Forces, has been designed with multiple roles in mind, including troop and cargo transport, heavy duty cargo transport via an external sling, as well as search and rescue and fire support missions.
India's Hindustan Aeronautics plans to produce a licensed version of the Kazan Helicopter plant's Mi-17; 78 nations currently operate the craft. Over 17,000 different variations of the helicopter have been produced to date since the beginning of production in the early 1960s.