IAF overhauling its fleet of mi35 chopper, aims to add six years of life

According to defence sources of Indian Defence news, the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) lone squadron of Mi-35 attack helicopters is undergoing a thorough overhaul in Russia that will extend their lifespan by six years and keep them in service well past this decade.

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According to defence sources of Indian Defence news, the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) lone squadron of Mi-35 attack helicopters is undergoing a thorough overhaul in Russia that will extend their lifespan by six years and keep them in service well past this decade.

“The overhaul is being done in two batches. The first batch is currently in Russia and once they are done, the second batch would be sent. The entire overhaul should be completed by mid-2023,” a defence source said. The overhaul of each batch takes around six to eight months, the source stated.

Prior to the introduction of 22 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters in 2019–20, the IAF operated two squadrons of the older Russian Mi-25/35 attack helicopters, one of which has been phased out. Based at Pathankot, the 125 Helicopter Unit pilots Apache helicopters.

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According to sources, the overhaul will give the Mi-35s an additional six years of life, keeping them in service past this decade.

India gave four Mi-25/35 attack helicopters from the IAF inventory to the Afghan National Army in 2015–16.

IAF had inducted the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCH) Prachand in October with the first squadron, 143 Helicopter Unit “Dhanush,” located at Jodhpur, as part of an expansion of its attack helicopter fleet. Over the course of the next 10–15 years, the Army will eventually need another 95 LCH, while the IAF will need another 65.

In a contract for an estimated $800 million inked in February 2020, India has ordered six more Apache attack helicopters, but Army Aviation will be in charge of flying them. Delivery is anticipated to begin in early 2024.