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IAF Chief unveils plan for helicopter fleet modernisation

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IAF's Sarang Helicopter Display Team showing aerobatic stunts during Aero India 2011.

BANGALORE (BNS): India is planning to modernise its helicopter fleet by inducting a total number of 230 choppers into the Indian Air Force, IAF Chief PV Naik said in a press conference at Aero India 2011.

"We are acquiring 12 AW 101 VVIP helicopters, trials for 22 attack helicopters are completed, 80 Mi-17 IV helicopters are being inducted and 50 more would be added in near future, trials for 12 heavy-lift choppers are also in the final stage and would be completed soon," Air Chief marshal P V Naik said on Thursday.

PV Naik said the Field Evaluation Trials (FETs) for procuring 197 helicopters for the Army and the Navy were also over and the report was expected to be submitted to it in the next couple of weeks. Of the 197, the IAF would receive over 55 helicopters.

In the attack helicopters segment, the trials focussing the Russian Mi-28 and American Apache 64 D Longbow are over and a report in this regard was expected in a week.

Under the LUH programme, the Army has conducted trials of the Russian Ka-226 and the Eurocopter Fennec and would send its report to the IAF soon.

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