MI-8 'Pratap' choppers phased out of IAF

MI-8 'Pratap' choppers phased out of IAF

 After serving the country for 45 years, the MI-8 helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF), also known as 'Pratap', were phased out on Sunday at the Air Force Station in Yelahanka.

The ceremony was headed by the retired Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, who had flown the last MI-8 mission. The chief guest at the occasion was Air Marshal SRK Nair, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command, IAF.

Speaking on the occasion, Air Marshal Naik said,"Ever since the rotors churned for the first time, this helicopter played a very significant role, right from the glaciers of Siachen, down to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and even across the islands we have around our country. Whether it is the deserts of the west or the far east, Vijay Naga, Gandhi Gram. This helicopter played a very vital role in the day to day survival in the inhospitable conditions."

The MI-8, designed by the erstwhile Soviet Union, first arrived in Mumbai in 1971 and was inducted to the IAF in 1972. Between 1971 and 1988, Indian Air Force inducted 107 MI-8 helicopters.

These choppers have been used in several major IAF operations including Operation Meghdoot in the Siachen Glacier and Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka. The helicopter also operated extensively in Humanitarian and Disaster Relief operations across the length and breadth of the country. MI-8 is also associated with flying VIPs and VVIPs.

The 112 Helicopter Unit based here at the Air Force Station, Yelahanka, is the last unit to operate this chopper.

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