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3,500th export Mi-17 rolls off assembly line

3,500th export Mi-17 rolls off assembly line
An Afghan National Army Air Corps Mi-17 is loaded to capacity here with election ballots for its next delivery in Shranana, Afghanistan on August 16, 2009. UPI/Thomas Dow/U.S. Air Force | License Photo

MOSCOW, March 14 (UPI) -- Russian Helicopters reports production of the 3,500th export version of the Mi-17 military transport helicopter.

The Mi-17, which NATO calls the Hip, is a twin-engine aircraft with a maximum speed of 155 miles per hour and a range of 289 miles. In addition to the transport version, it also comes in gunship variants.

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Russian Helicopters, a subsidiary of Oboronprom, said the 3,500th aircraft is to be delivered to the Indian military as part of a 2012 contract for more than 70 Mi-17s.

India had earlier ordered and received 80 of the helicopters.

"South and Southeast Asia are a core region for promoting Russian manufacturing," said Alexander Mikheev, chief executive officer off Russian Helicopters. "Our helicopters are well-known there and demand has remained constant.

"More than 250 helicopters built at our facilities are operational in India. They are used for flight training, personnel-carrying, search-and-rescue and medevac missions, and providing assistance in emergencies."

The company said the Mi-17s being delivered to India are equipped with a KNEI-8 avionics suite and a new PKV-8 autopilot, which helps reduce pilot workload. They are also outfitted with enhanced engines for transporting heavy and bulky loads in the high mountain terrain of northern India.

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