Two Indian Air Force Mil Mi-17 helicopters crashed near the town of Jamnagar in Gujarat state on Thursday August 30th 2012. The 2 choppers had taken off from nearby Jamanagar airbase for a routine training flight. The mid air collision which occurred around 12:05pm killed all nine airmen on board the chopper.

According to IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Gerard Galway quoted in New Delhi by Gulfnews, the nine fatalities aboard the 2 choppers were three wing commanders, a squadron leader, a flying officer, a junior commissioned officer and three sergeants. The same article indicates that the two aircraft reportedly flown by experienced airmen belonging to India’s elite Tactical and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) began losing control after their rotors came into contact while flying in very close formation.

The Mi-17 a Russian helicopter provided improvement on the Mi-8 itself designed in the sixties fielded by more than 50 air forces. Its most currently marketed version is the Mi-17-1V capable of lifting up to 36 troops or 4,000kg load internally (5,000 kg if attached to external sling). When operated as a transport/assault tactical helicopter, it can be armed respectively with with 80 S-8 or 192 S-5 pod mounted rockets. Recent avionics upgrades allow it to fly at night using precision satellite navigation.

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