Russia's Rosoboronexport arms agency hopes to firm up a long-planned Indian air force order for 80 Mil Mi-17-V5 transport helicopters during the first quarter of 2008, with deliveries tentatively scheduled to start later in the year.

To be built by Kazan Helicopters, the Klimov VK2500-powered aircraft will have strengthened gearboxes to enable high-altitude operations, addressing a key requirement that emerged following performance inadequacies with India's current Mi-17s. The air force also wants its new aircraft to have glass cockpits, although the first batch will arrive with standard instruments. Rosoboronexport has proposed a militarised version of a Tranzas cockpit, plus mission avionics and targeting systems supplied by Kronshtadt and Ramenskoye PKB.

Meanwhile, the Mil design bureau plans in early 2008 to launch a tender to select a glass cockpit for military and civilian versions of its next-generation Mi-8X transport, with Russian and foreign suppliers to be considered. The Mi-8X will draw on technologies developed for the commercial Mi-38 transport.