Air Force, 12 Wing, Chandigarh, deployed MI-26 helicopter into the ongoing relief operations in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday.
MI-26 will be operating from Awantipur in J&K. This is the world’s biggest helicopter and can lift 30 tonnes. It will also assist in infrastructure development as it can carry heavy machinery in single sortie. MI-26 was also used in Uttarakhand during Op-Rahat.
“The deployment of MI-26 will surely help in speedy repair of roads, bridges and other essential infrastructure in addition to the supply of essentials,” said a defence spokesperson in Chandigarh.
There is only one serviceable MI-26 helicopter in India.
MI-26 was inducted into the Air Force at Chandigarh on May 15, 1986.
The helicopter has distinguished itself by undertaking a number of under slung operations in the mountain ranges of J&K (at times under enemy shelling), the plains of central India and the seas of Kutch. It has achieved the sole distinction of landing an MI-26 at Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) and other high altitude airfields carrying wheeled vehicles, field guns (medium), heavy – duty generators, mobile Satcom stations and bulldozers.
MI-26 is the only helicopter in its class, which has carried the Bofors gun.
In February 1989, MI-26 helicopter undertook the only-of-its-kind underslung operation taking Pontoon bridge from Ludhiana to Sirhind canal. In July 2002, theMI-26 recovered the first civilian aircraft (Beach Craft), which had met with an accident at Kangra airfield.