12:40 GMT23 September 2020
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    The press service of Russia's Western Military District has announced that it has received its first batch of new Mi-17V-5 transport helicopters, and is getting ready to receive more.

    MOSCOW, January 16 (Sputnik) — Russia's Western Military District has received a fresh batch of Mi-17V-5 transport helicopters and is set to receive more, the head of the district's press service Colonel Oleg Kochetkov told Russia's RIA Novosti on Friday.

    "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.

    Last October, General Campbell of the US forces in Afghanistan praised the Mi-17V5, saying that it has "been a force multiplier for the special operating forces and for the conventional forces, the army and the police." He noted that he had "been really, really impressed" with the helicopter's performance, noting that its ability to provide cargo and troop transport support in difficult terrain and climatic conditions was "pretty incredible."

    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.


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    Russian Aerospace Forces, Mi-17, Mi-17V5, Russian Army, Russian Armed Forces, Russia
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