The Mi17V5 helicopter is an advanced military transport chopper that has been with the Indian Air Force (IAF) since 2012. However, IAF's Mi17V5 chopper has been involved in quite a few incidents during the last decade

New Delhi: The Mi-17V5 helicopter crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu that killed Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika, and 11 others brought back memories of several Mi-17 chopper accidents in which many Air Force personnel, Army officials, and crew members lost their lives in the past. As per reports, in the last decade, at least seven Russian-made IAF Mi-series helicopters have crashed in India. And, as per information by the Ministry of Defence in the past, over 30 people were fatally injured in these crashes since 2012. And, the death of CDS Bipin Rawat and others on Wednesday’s (December 08, 2021) Mi-17V5 helicopter crash has once again put a spotlight on the history of Russian-made Mi-17 helicopter accidents in India.

All About Mi-17V5— The Helicopter That Crashed

The Mi17V5 helicopter is an advanced military transport chopper that has been with the Indian Air Force (IAF) since 2012. Manufactured by Russian Helicopters’ subsidiary Kazan, the helicopter has onboard weather radar and is equipped with the latest generation of night vision devices. This helicopter has the new PKV-8 autopilot system and a KNEI-8 avionics suite. It can carry a maximum take-off weight of 13,000 kg and a maximum payload weight of 4,000 kg. The helicopter is fitted with a self-defence system against heat seeker missiles, heavily-armoured cockpit, vital systems and components.

In 2008, India had signed a deal with Russia to induct 80 Mi17V5 medium-lift helicopters for strengthening its chopper fleet for humanitarian and disaster relief missions and transport operations. The contract was later expanded for the delivery of 151 Mi17V5 helicopters. The first batch of these helicopters came to India in September 2011. In February 2012, the IAF had formally inducted Mi17V5 helicopters from Russia to enhance its operational capabilities including carrying troops and cargo to high altitude areas.

“The Mi-17V-5 military transport helicopter is designed to carry personnel, cargo and equipment inside the cargo cabin or on an external sling, drop tactical air assault forces and reconnaissance and sabotage groups, destroy ground targets and carry the wounded,” said Russian government’s defence exports company Rosoboronexport.

According to the company, this helicopter can achieve a maximum speed of 250 km per hour. The helicopter is fitted with advanced TV3-117VM engines. It is the most technically advanced helicopter of Mi-8/17 family of helicopters, and incorporates the best engineering solutions from previous generations of helicopters.

IAF’s Mi17V5 chopper has been involved in quite a few incidents during the last decade. Let’s have a look:

On November 8, 2021, one of these IAF Mi17V5 choppers crash-landed in eastern Arunachal Pradesh. However, the two pilots and three crew members suffered just minor injuries.

On April 03, 2018, six people on board IAF’s Mi17V5 helicopter escaped unhurt, after it crashed near the Himalayan shrine of Kedarnath in Uttarakhand.

On October 7, 2017, a Mi17V5 helicopter crashed near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh while it was heading for the China border, killing all seven armed forces personnel onboard.

On June 15, 2013, one of these helicopters crashed while returning from Kedarnath on a rescue mission during the Uttarakhand floods. A total of eight people, including five crew members, were killed in this accident.

On August 30, 2012, nine IAF personnel were killed around 10 km from Jamnagar airbase in Gujarat, when two of these Mi17V5 choppers crashed into each other.

On November 19, 2010, 12 defence personnel were killed when a Mi17V5 helicopter carrying them crashed near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.