New Delhi : A contract for Mi-17V-5 helicopters, which was supposed to be signed last year, is now expected to be finalised soon, a top Russian official has said.

“Negotiations with the Indian side on the delivery of 48 Mi-17V-5 helicopters have been completed; we expect to sign the corresponding contract in the first quarter of 2018,” CEO of Russia’s Rostec State Corporation, Sergey Chemezov, told IANS in an interview.

He also said that there is “serious modernisation potential” in the Mi-17 and Mi-8 choppers which was proven by the development of the Mi-171A2 helicopter.

The Mi-171A2 is an advanced medium multirole helicopter, based on the Mi-8/17 series with more powerful propulsion systems, upgraded main rotor, gear systems and fuselage and advanced avionics. Chemezov said the chopper has seen more than 80 new improvements in the platform.

India at present has around 151 Mi-17V-5 helicopters, the last of which were delivered in January 2016. The Mi-17V-5 is based on the Mi 8 helicopter airframe and is one of the most advanced aircraft of the Mi-8/17 helicopter family.

The helicopters are equipped with night vision technology, on-board weather radar, a new PKV-8 autopilot system, and a KNEI-8 avionics suite.

The sturdy choppers have been the Indian Air Force’s mainstay in a number of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

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