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India says $1 bln helicopter deal to be signed with Russia soon

The Indian Air Force said on Thursday that India will soon sign a contract with Russia to receive 80 Mi-17 Hip-H multirole helicopters.

Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major said preparations for signing the contract are now in their final stages. The deal is estimated at $1 billion. Indian media earlier reported that the contract was under threat over Russia’s attempt to significantly raise the delivery price, and that negotiations were stalling. A preliminary agreement to sell Mi-17 helicopters to India was reached in March 2007 at a meeting of the Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission on military cooperation.

The Mi-17 is a version of the Mi-8 airframe. The helicopter has a takeoff weight of 13 metric tons and can carry up to 36 people or a payload of 4 metric tons within the cargo compartment, or 4.5 tons externally. The helicopters have been supplied to 80 countries. (