An IAF contingent to the UN mission in Congo was flagged off on Thursday and it will be the fifth team of airmen and officers that will replace the existing troops in the Central African nation.
Group Captain Pradip Waman Ambekar will be the leader of the contingent comprising 285 air warriors. The contingent, to be based along the Rwanda-Uganda border, will operate Mi-17 transport helicopters in the erstwhile volatile provinces of Kivu and Ituri, an IAF release said.
The helicopters would be employed for observation, reconnaissance, casualty evacuation, logistics supply, troop insertion and extraction operations and armed support, as and when required.
The attack helicopters would provide deterrence and cover to Mi-17 operations and ground convoys, the release said.
The contingent was flagged off from the Palam airport in New Delhi by IAF's Deputy Chief Air Marshal N V Tyagi.