The Special Protection Group (SPG) responsible for provision of safety of flights performed by the Indian prime-minister has chosen VIP version of Mi-17V-5 helicopter for transportation of the top officials. Presumably, about 12 out of 150 helicopters delivered to India by Kazan Helicopters will be upgraded to VIP version. According to BUSINESS Online, a large batch of the helicopters manufactured by Kazan Helicopters was ordered by Radioelectronic Technologies Concern (part of Russian Technologies State Corporation). The order is connected with large contracts of another Kazan-based enterprise – Kazan Optical and Mechanical Plant (KOMZ).
The SPG has chosen Mi-17V-5 helicopter because it suits their requirements best.
This decision was being prepared during a year since the moment when India encountered problems with purchase of 12 Agusta Westland AW-101 helicopters. We remind you that the head of Finmeccanica (parent company of Agusta Westland) Giuseppe Orsi was arrested on February 12th 2013. He was accused in bribery of Indian officials related to signing the contract for delivery of helicopters (the value of this contract was about $750 million). The Indian party sent representatives of its secret services to Italy in order to investigate the case and notified Finmeccanica of their intention to terminate the contract.
A new tender will take more time; that is why India decided to modify the Mi-17V-5 helicopters, which are being delivered to the country under two contracts. We remind you that the contract for delivery of 80 Mi-17V-5 helicopters was signed by Indian party and Rosoboronexport in 2008 (the deliveries should be completed in 2014). India decided to sign another contract for 59 more helicopters of the type in 2012. Later Rosoboronexport reported that it plans to sign a new contract for delivery of another batch of Mi-17V-5 helicopters to Indian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
It is not clear whether the Indian party will purchase more helicopters of the type in basic configuration in order to compensate the “loss” of the vehicles upgraded to VIP version. However, the Indian mass media unveiled some information about such intention. Kazan Helicopters declined to comment the news from India.
India needs to upgrade the helicopters fast – the fleet of governmental VIP Mi-8 helicopters (purchased during Soviet era) should be put out of operation in February and the new Mi-17V-5 helicopters must be ready by the start of parliamentary election campaign 2014, a source close to Indian air forces reported.
8 helicopters will be used for transporting top officials and the rest four ones – for transporting representatives of SPG. The vehicles will be fitted with missile protection systems and medevac equipment. All the helicopters will be operated by the communications squadron of the Major Command of the Indian Air Forces. The vehicles will be based at Palam air base.