February 2, 2009, Moscow -- Russia will deliver the first of the 80 Mi-171 transport helicopters to India under a recent contract by the end of this year, an official from Russia's state arms exporter said on Monday.
The Mi-171 is an export version of the Mi-8 Hip helicopter. Currently in production at two factories in Kazan and Ulan-Ude, it features more powerful turboshaft engines and can transport up to 37 passengers.
"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.
Some sources estimate the new deal is worth around $662 million.
India already has 150 Russian-made Mi-8 and Mi-17 medium-lift helicopters deployed in at least 12 squadrons.
The Indian Air Force used Mi-17 helicopters in a commando assault on the Nariman House Jewish center in November last year, which killed some of the 10 terrorists involved in a three-day bloody rampage in Mumbai.
Russia started this year deliveries of Mi-171 helicopters to another customer, Iran, under a $45 million contract.
They will be used by Iran's Red Crescent for rescue missions and the evacuation of people injured in natural disasters. (RIA Novosti)
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