Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and several others were on board a Mi-17 V-5 (domestic designation Mi-8 MTV-5) helicopter that crashed today in the Nilgiris. At the time of filing this report, four people had been confirmed dead.  

According to the website Airforce Technology, Mi-17 V-5 is a military transport variant in the Mi-8/17 family of helicopters. It is produced by Kazan Helicopters, a subsidiary of Russian Helicopters.

The Mi-17 V-5 helicopter is designed to transport cargo inside the cabin, and on an external sling, the Mi-17 V-5 helicopter is one of the world’s most advanced transport helicopters. It can also be deployed in troop and arms transport, fire support, convoy escort, patrol, and search-and-rescue (SAR) missions.

According to Rosoboronexport, the helicopter is equipped with a modern avionics suite providing round-the-clock employment of the helicopter and weapons. Its armament system includes unguided rockets (up to 80 S-8 80mm unguided aerial rockets), cannons (suspended pods with 23mm cannons and 250 rounds each) and small arms. The helicopter is fitted with a self-defence system against heat seeker missiles, heavily-armoured cockpit, vital systems and components, and features enhanced survivability.

Aerocorner website says that the Mi-17 is an export variant of the Soviet Mil Mi-8, and was designed to carry troops, weapons, ammunition and other cargo. A new version of this helicopter called “Mi-171Sh” was introduced in 1995. It has a larger cabin than previous versions for transporting up to 30 passengers or 5 tons of cargo over 400 km (250 mi).

The Mi-17 V-5 helicopter was also used last year to douse the fire in Dzukou Valley.

According to this Economic Times Report, the MI-17 V5 falls in the armed helicopter category, with substantial and effective firepower. It has the latest and more powerful engines that will enhance its payload carrying capability at higher altitudes. 

In 2017, an IAF Mi-17 V-5 helicopter crashed near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, killing five people and critically injuring one. 

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