India has signed a long-planned agreement with Russia to equip its air force with 80 Mil Mi-17V-5 transport helicopters between 2010 and 2014. Confirmed during an early December visit to New Delhi by Russian president Dmitri Medvedev and worth around 24 billion rupees ($495 million), the deal also includes an offset obligation by Moscow totalling $405 million.

To replace part of the Indian air force's aged Mi-8 fleet, the new aircraft will be used for a variety of roles, including troop transport and air ambulance tasks, plus ferrying VIPs, and are expected to be able to land at an altitude of up to 18,000ft (5,490m). Indian government sources say they will also be weaponised for combat operations.

Source: Flight International