Mi-17, medium lift helicopters used by the Indian Air Force (IAF), are all set for upgradation at Chandigarh-based air force station, 3-Base Repair Depot (3-BRD). As per the plans, Mi-17 would be retrofitted with smart displays, new cockpit, digital voice recorder, missile launch detection system, cables, breaks and other new avionics.
Confirming the development, Air Commodore Sanjeeva Sinha, Air Officer Commanding (AOC), 3-BRD, said that a contract for the upgradation has already been signed with an Israeli company and the work is expected to be started by March next year at Chandigarh.
He said that the 3-BRD has also collaborated with a Bangalore-based firm for supply of some material that would be used in upgradation of these Russian origin machines.
Talking about indigenization, Sinha stated that 3BRD Chandigarh is basically a repair depot for Russian aircrafts and helicopters and efforts are being made to use 80% indigenous spare parts during their overhauling.
“Once upgraded, it would strengthen IAF’s helicopter fleet for high-altitude air maintenance operations, huma nitarian assistance and disaster relief mission and other operations,” he added.
About other future pro jects, the Air Commodore told TOI that infrastructure was being developed for the overhauling of Mi-17 V5 at 3-BRD Chandigarh and the work was expected to start from 2019. He added that transfer of technology from Russia was going on and a team of IAF personnel would also be sent to Russia for requisite training.
One of the latest and advanced helicopters, Mi-17 V5 were actually assembled at 3BRD in February 2012 after purchase.
Popularly known as Mecca for repair of Russian aircrafts and helicopters, 3-BRD here is the only air force base in the country to carry out fourth line repair and maintenance of aircraft and equip ment in the inventory of the IAF, including overhauling, major repairs and upgradations.
So far, it has done overhauling of 897 helicopters of Mi 17 version and around 3,493 aero engines. Choppers come at 3BRD after completion of 2,000 flying hours or 10-year period for overhauling. It takes the depot maximum 120-days to overhaul a chopper.
The repair depot has three different sections at the local station where work related to repair or overhauling of choppers aero engines is done. According to the officials of the 3-BRD, all spare parts of these Russian flying machines, which are not found fit for re-use, are manufactured at the local station only . Depot also has a unit, which manufactures around two lakh spare parts in a year.
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