November 8, 2007:
buying another 80 Russian Mi-17 helicopters [PHOTO] for $5 million each. This deal
includes Russia buying 20 Indian made Dhruv helicopters for $8 million each.
The Mi17 transport helicopter is the export version of the Mi8. This, in turn,
is a 1960s era chopper that is about twice the size and weight of the
contemporary American UH-1, but only hauls about 50 percent more cargo (about
2.6 tons). However, the Mi-8 has a larger interior, and can carry 24 troops,
versus a dozen in the UH-1.
The UH-1 was replaced by
the UH-60 in the 1980s, while the Mi-8 just kept adding better engines and
electronics to the basic Mi-8 frame. The UH-60, while weighing as much as the
UH-1 (4.8 tons), could carry as much as the 12 ton Mi-8. Most importantly, the
Mi-8 costs about half as much as a UH-60, and the larger interior is popular
with many users. Second hand Mi-8/17s are even cheaper. Nearly 3,000 Mi17s have
In addition, India is
updating the electronics in 172 of its Mi-8/17 Russian helicopters, for $1.8
million each. This upgrade will include a landing, weather and ranging radar,
as well as a digital moving map system. This will enable these helicopters to
operate safely at night and in all sorts of weather. Some of these helicopters
will also receive missile and rocket launchers, as well as a targeting pod and
a missile defense system. In the last forty years, India has bought over 400
Russian helicopters, and about 300 of them are still in service, largely
because of upgrades like this.