The Indian Air Force (IAF) will receive the first batch of 80 Mi-17 transport helicopters from Russia by the end of 2010, which will allow it to carry out missions and relief operations in high-altitude areas.

India will receive the remaining helicopters in phases over the next four years, according to the Press Trust of India.

The new Mi-17s will have a carrying capacity of 5t and can carry 15 fully equipped troops.

It will help the IAF in military and civilian missions such as ferrying troops and weapons in high-altitude mountainous areas, airdropping relief supplies and evacuating casualties.

In 2008, India signed a deal with Russia to supply the new Mi-17s to replace and expand its existing fleet of 150 Mi-8 and Mi-17 medium-lift aircraft.

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