The Indian Air Force (IAF) retired Mil Mi-8 medium lift helicopters from its fleet during the phasing out ceremony conducted at Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Bengaluru on Dec. 17.
The ceremony was attended by many Air Force veterans headed by Air Chief Marshall (Retd.) Fali Homi Major. He flew the last MI-8 mission along with Commanding Officer of the No. 112 Helicopter Unit (CO 112HU).
Air Marashal SRK Nair, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command, was the chief guest on the occasion. Air Marshal Jasjit Singh Kler, Commandant NDA, the senior most MI-8 helicopter pilot was also present on the occasion.
The 112 HU based at Yelahanka, was last unit to operate this platform. The IAF had inducted ten operational Mi-8 helicopter units. The Mi-8s have participated in several missions including Operation Meghdoot in Siachen Glacier and Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka.
The helicopters also operated extensively in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) missions across the country.
The Mi-8s in the Indian service were replaced by Mil Mi-17 helicopters, a variant of the Mi-8.
Mil Mi-8 (NATO reporting name: Hip) is a medium twin-turbine helicopter, originally designed by the Soviet Union, and now produced by Russia.
In addition to its most common role as a transport helicopter, the Mi-8 is also used as an airborne command post, armed gunship, and reconnaissance platform.
Along with the related, more powerful Mil Mi-17, the Mi-8 is among the world’s most-produced helicopters, used by over 50 countries. As of 2015, it is the third most common operational military aircraft in the world.