MI 17 V5
On 8 December, 2021; Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) was on a visit to Defence Services Staff College, Wellington (Nilgiri Hills) to address the faculty and student officers of the Staff Course.

Around noon, an IAF Mi 17 V5 helicopter with a crew of 4 members carrying the CDS and 9 other passengers met with a tragic accident near Coonoor, Tamilnadu.

Prime Minister Narendramodi’s Tweet

Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other persons on board have attained Veergati in the unfortunate accident.


The sudden demise of Gen Bipin Rawat is a huge loss for the country. The entire country is in deep sorrow.

Know about Mi-17V-5

MI-17V-5 Helicopter

Mi-17V-5 is a military transport variant in the Mi-8/17 family of helicopters. It is produced by Kazan Helicopters, a subsidiary of Russian Helicopters designed to transport cargo inside the cabin and on an external sling.

Mi-17V5 choppers are among the most technically advanced helicopters of the Mi-8/17 type. It is one of the world’s most advanced transport helicopters.

It can also be deployed in troop and arms transport, fire support, convoy escort, patrol, and search-and-rescue (SAR) missions.

In 2008, Rosoboronexport, a company of Rostec State Corporation, signed a contract for the delivery of 80 Mi-17V-5 to India, which was completed in 2011-2013.

In 2012-2013, three additional supplies had been signed to supply a total of 71 Mi-17V-5 for the needs of the Air Force.

It was inducted into the Indian Air Force on 17 February 2012.

Rosoboronexport delivered the final batch of Mi-17V-5 military transport helicopters to India in July 2018. The Indian Air Force inaugurated a repair and overhaul facility for Mi-17V-5 helicopters in April 2019.

In 2021, around 60 countries around the globe uses Mi-17V-5 helicopters. According to latest data, the IAF currently has over 200 of these helicopters in service.

General Characteristics

√ Crew 3 (2 Pilots 1 Engineer)
√ 1 Load master
√ Twin Engine Single Rotor system
√ Capacity Troops 36
√ Floor area 12.5m²
√ Effective space 23m³
√ Maximum takeoff weight 13,000kg
√ Maximum Payload 4000kg
√ Range 675km with main fuel tank
√ Range 1180km with auxiliary tanks
√ Maximum Speed 250km/hr
√ Cruise Speed 230km/hr
√ Service Ceiling 6000m
√ Flight data recorder
√ Cockpit Voice Recorder
√ Emergency Floating system
√ Electronic Terrain map
√ Flight route reprogramming
√ On board data processing
√ Electronic surveillance system
√ FLIR system
√ Searchlight
√ Parachute equipment
√ Sliding door
√ Dolphin type nose
√ Multifunction Display KENI-8
√ Rappelling
√ Night vision equipment
√ On board weather radar
√ Autopilot System
√ Armoured plates protecting Cockpit
√ Auto Self defense system
√ self-sealed fuel tanks are filled with foam polyurethane
√ engine-exhaust infrared (IR) suppressors
√ flares dispenser
√ Jammer
√ Shturm-V missiles, S-8 rockets, a 23mm machine gun, PKT machine guns, and AKM sub-machine guns
√ The onboard armament allows the crew to engage enemy personnel, armoured vehicles, land-based targets, fortified fire posts, and other fixed and moving targets.


Some alleged theories of MI-17V-5 crash are floating on the social media.

√ LTTE (Tamil insurgents group) theory
Some of the self-proclaimed 007 on social media has depicted LTTE involvement in Helicopter crash. This theory seems to be baseless as MI-17V-5 is equipped with Several automatic emergency services. The intelligence agencies should have the trace of “man-portable launcher” or “Shoulder misel launcher”.

√ Hacking of the system
Hacking such an advanced system is not child’s play. It can be easily deducted and traced.

√ Involvement of Adversaries
China/ISI (Pakistan)/CIA (US) can’t be involve in such operations. Indian Intelligence agency is one of the best in the world.

Some possibilities by Veterans on different media houses

√ Bad weather
Weather in these hills is nasty, at best, and currently the weather in this sector is not very good, very clear. Weather could be one of the factors.

√ Power lines
Crashed in an area away from human habitation, there is possibility that it might have been entangled in power lines.

√ Mechanical Failure
The helicopters are not new. The pilots are best trained and the best professionals we can expect to fly such dignitaries. These are very good and reliable helicopters and are being used for the airlift of VVIPs also but the possibility of a minor technical defect cannot be ruled out.

√ Height
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has initiated an inquiry which will likely determine the height at which the chopper began its descent before crashing in the Katteri-Nanchappanchathram area in the hilly Nilgiris district.

Accidents of MI-17V-5 in last decade

β€’ On November 8, 2021, one of these IAF Mi17V5 choppers crash-landed in eastern Arunachal Pradesh. However, the two pilots and three crew members suffered just minor injuries.

β€’ On April 03, 2018, six people on board IAF’s Mi17V5 helicopter escaped unhurt, after it crashed near the Himalayan shrine of Kedarnath in Uttarakhand.

β€’ On October 7, 2017, a Mi17V5 helicopter crashed near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh while it was heading for the China border. All seven armed forces personnel onboard had attained Veergati.

β€’ On June 15, 2013, one of these helicopters crashed while returning from Kedarnath on a rescue mission during the Uttarakhand floods. A total of eight people, including five crew members, had attained Veergati in this accident.

β€’ On August 30, 2012, nine IAF personnel had attained Veergati around 10 km from Jamnagar airbase in Gujarat, when two of these Mi17V5 choppers crashed into each other.

β€’ On November 19, 2010, 12 defence personnel had attained Veergati when a Mi17V5 helicopter carrying them crashed near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.

IAF’s Tweet

IAF has constituted a tri-service Court of Inquiry to investigate the cause of the tragic helicopter accident on 08 Dec 21.

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