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IAF deploys helicopter squadron near Indo-Pak border

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The Mi-17 V5 helicopter of the IAF.

PHALODI, JODHPUR (PTI): Indian Air Force Chief Air Marshal N A K Browne on Monday inaugurated the medium-lift helicopter complex for the new squadron of its latest Mi-17 V5 helicopters at Phalodi airbase near the Indo-Pak border in Jodhpur.

Inauguration of these pre-engineered hangars, biggest of their type in the IAF, would add to the operational capabilities of the new air base.

The coming up of the complex is also being seen as Indian Air Force strengthening its presence along the Pakistan border by deploying the squadron, comprising about 15 aircraft.

The helicopters can undertake all weather, day and night operations in any kind of terrain, defence spokesperson Col S D Goswami said.

"Mi-17 V5 falls under the armed helicopter category, with substantial and effective firepower with the latest and more powerful engines that will greatly enhance its payload carriage capability at higher altitudes," he said.

The helicopter is an upgrade of Mi-17 in the medium-lift category and is equipped with sophisticated avionics and on-board navigation systems.

"It has on-board weather radar, state-of-the art autopilot and is equipped with the latest generation night vision devices. With these, the helicopter can undertake all- weather, day-night operations in any kind of terrain," he said.

The base would be utilised during the forthcoming exercises 'Iron Fist' on February 22, 2013, and 'Live Wire' in mid-March 2013, according to a spokesperson.

In his inaugural address, the IAF chief emphasised upon the operational importance of the Phalodi station. He later interacted with the station personnel and other guests.

The Phalodi airbase, located between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, was inaugurated in 2010 to undertake all types of air defence operations in the western sector.

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