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Tuesday November 19, 2019

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Border Security Force Inducts Mi – 17 V5 HELICOPTERS

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India’s First Line of Defence, The Border Security Force (BSF) which has been safeguarding the India-Pakistan and India-Bangladesh borders since 1965 plans to induct two new advanced Mi – 17 V5 helicopters which will enhance the strength of BSF’s Air Wing. The Air Wing is tasked to carry air support missions for BSF troops along the borders and in India’s hinterland during Anti-Naxal operations.

The Russian made Mi- 17 V5 choppers will boost the flying capability of BSF, they will be deployed for a variety of internal security related tasks in some of the most arduous and inhospitable conditions at various locations.The choppers are armed with the latest in avionics and night flying capabilities, both of which were longstanding BSF requirement for undertaking operations in Naxal areas.

The helicopters will be inducted and bought into service by The Hon’ble Union Home Minister of India Shri Rajnath Singh on April 09th, 2015 at 1500Hrs.

Introduction of BSF Air Wing
BSF’s Air Wing has a fleet of 04 Fixed Wing (FW) aircrafts (Embraer-01, Avro- 02 and SKA B-200- 01) and 13 helicopters consisting of 06 MI-17 1V, 06 ALH (Dhruv) and 01 Cheetah helicopteroperating under the aegis of MHA.

The Air Wing is involved in providing aerial support to the force while addressing threats to internal security since 1969. The helicopters operate from BSF Air bases located at Ranchi, Raipur, Agartala, Srinagar and New Delhi.

Medium lift helicopters (MLH) MI-17 1V fleet were inducted in 2003. They were procured under J & K action plan. Initially this fleet was mainly used for air logistics and communication tasks. However, in the last few years their Deployment and scope of utilization has extended to include disaster relief, Special Heliborne Operations (SHBO) for National Security Guards, Anti-Naxal Operations, Counter Insurgency Operations, Air-maintenance of remote Border Out-Posts, Casualty Evacuation etc. The versatility of the MI-17 platform has opened up new avenues for additional tasks like reconnaissance, security, urban policing, VIP movement, etc. There is a need for expanding our capacity of medium lift helicopters due to the dynamic nature of national security threats.

For this purpose and renewed role and tasks, the MHA has mandated BSF’s Air Wing to procure eight Mi 17 V5 helicopters. Which was dovetailed with the demands of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Aviation Research centre (ARC). The procurement was centrally handled by MoD with Rosoboronexport, Russia.

The Government recognizes the increasing use of air space in addressing internal security challenges in the country. Air assets provide the most effective assistance to the security challenges like CI Operations, IS Duties, Anti-Naxal Operations, Disaster Management, Elections, Urban Policing, specialized anti-terrorist tasks.

The Government’s aim is to provide short, swift and sharp air-lift capabilities to the troops of CAPFs and assist in ground operations. Any ground movement of troops is time consuming, vulnerable to IEDs and ambushes by Naxals. The security forces are required to operate from deep inside the inaccessible terrain in these areas with continuous shifting of their operation sites. Therefore, the safest and quickest passage can only be attained by creating an Air-bridge with the help of MLH between the CAPF bases. As a result the Government has decided to deploy these MI 17 V5 helicopters at Delhi, Raipur and Ranchi airbases.

The utility of MI 17 V5 is very relevant in following operational scenarios:
i. Induction & de-induction of troops.
ii. Air support for ground operations.
iii. Casualty evacuation.
iv. Disaster Management and NBC scenario.
v. Specialist Counter-insurgency operations.
vi. Internal Security Duties, Election Duties, etc.
vii. Specialized anti-terrorist tasks including training especially NSG.
viii. Performing tasks like Shifting of detainees, carrying of arms, ammunition and other materials.

MI-17 V5 helicopters are very suitable for the above due to:
i. Large carrying capacity (approx 36 troops at a time)
ii. Suitable for armour plating to bear Naxal fire
iii. Firefighting ops (can carry 5000 liters of water)
iv. Capable of operating in nuclear disaster by using specialized lead plates.
v. Capable of operating in all areas up toa 200 kilometer radius.
vi. Capability of converting into air – ambulance.
vii. Suitable for all required tasks.

Of total 08 Mi 17 V5 helicopters, the first batch of 02 Mi 17 V5 helicopters have arrived & are being inducted in BSF Air Wing. Rest of the 06 helicopters will be inducted in two phases during the current financial year (2015-16). The next batch of 3 helicopters are planned to be arrive in May &the remaining 03 helicopters will arrive in Sep 2015.

Necessity of Air Wing in BSF
At many places, the deployment of BSF is such that for most of the year the road linksare totally cut off. During emergencies and for augmenting administrative support at these places, the air report becomes crucial to overcome these problems. Thus the BSF Air Wing was established with one Queen Air in 1969. Though the initial operations were limited. With the increase in the use of Queen Air, the need was felt for increasing the number and types of Aircrafts in service. Two Dakotas were purchased in 1970s. These Dakotas were kept in service till 1980 and then as the Dakotas were replaced by AVROs in the year 1982, Super King B200 Aircrafts were added to increase the air capabilities of BSF.In 1993 especially for Arid regions of Rajasthan and Rann of Kutch, the Chetak helicopter was inducted.

During that period BSF’s air fleet was utilized for air support to just a single force i.e. BSF. The scope of duties has now extended to all other CAPFs and the Air Wing was re-designated as a common pool for CAPFs.


Source: PRO, BSF

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