Moscow: Russia will deliver the first of the 80 Mi-171 transport helicopters to India by the end of this year, an official from Russia's state arms export agency said on Monday. The $662 million deal for the supply of 80 of these advanced helicopters was concluded last year December.
The Mi-171 is an export version of the Mi-8 Hip helicopter and features more powerful turboshaft engines. The chopper can transport up to 37 fully geared soldiers in a combat sitting arrangement.
"The contract was signed in December, we have already received the down payment and hope that the first helicopter will be delivered to India before the end of the year," the deputy director of Rosoboronexport, Viktor Komardin, said.
India deploys a fleet of ageing 150 Russian-made Mi-8 and Mi-17 medium-lift helicopters.
Russia has already commenced deliveries of Mi-171 helicopters to another customer, Iran. It said these helicopters are meant for use by Iran's Red Crescent for rescue missions and the evacuation of people injured in natural disasters.