Indian Air Force

India updates Mil Mi-26T helicopters (to support them with Chinook?)

In the current year, three Mil Mi-26T heavy transport helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) are expected to be sent to Russia for review and extension of the useful operating life of at least an additional 8-10 years.

Of the three specimens (out of four) currently available to the IAF one was placed on the ground in September 2013, the second specimen was stopped in August 2014 and the third specimen was last seen flying in 2017 although it should be in flight conditions; a fourth specimen was lost instead on December 14, 2010.

Recall that India had ordered 6 Mil Mi-26T of which the first two specimens were delivered in June 1986, the third and fourth specimens were delivered to the IAF in February 1989 while the remaining two were canceled at due to the reduced use of the aircraft by the Air Force.

The request to repair the Mi-26T helicopters dates back to four years ago but the definitive answer came only at the end of last year. According to local sources, the Indian leaders expect repairs to be carried out at the rate of about one specimen every 10-12 months while the Russian operators have requested a time of between one year and a year and a half per specimen.

Furthermore, the modalities of transporting the Mi-26T from India to Russia should also be considered: the first two helicopters could be partially disassembled while for the third, the possibility of flying it to repair plants in Russia.

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