Strengthening its capability for anti-Naxal operations, IAF will deploy a squadron of its latest Mi-17 V-5 helicopters in Nagpur to cater to the needs of extremism-hit states of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
These helicopters are advanced versions of the existing fleet of Mi-17s in the IAF and are equipped with sophisticated avionics and on-board navigation systems making them more suitable for both day and night operations in Naxal-affected areas.
The helicopters will be deployed in Nagpur to cater to the needs of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh in anti-Naxal operations, Indian Air Force sources said.
So far, IAF has deployed its choppers in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh and Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh for supporting anti-Naxal operations.
IAF has been providing aerial support to troops from CRPF deployed in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected states since 2009.
The choppers are used to insert and evacuate troops during Naxal-operations and have been suitably equipped to operate in dense forests and can operate from temporary helipads there.
The Mi-17 V-5 helicopters have an on-board weather radar along with the state-of-the art autopilot and latest night vision devices.
IAF has been providing aerial assistance in the anti-Naxal operations in five states of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh.
The force is operating there within the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) or Rules of Engagement laid down by the Defence Ministry, which prescribes for fire in self defence only.