Chennai/New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others died on Wednesday when an Indian Air Force helicopter, identified as Mi-17V-5 medium-lifter chopper crashed near Tamil Nadu's Coonoor.

Identities of the bodies were confirmed through DNA testing, reports said.

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Here's all you need to know about the Mi-17V-5 military helicopter -

Produced by Russia-based Kazan Helicopters, the Mi-17 V-5 helicopter is used for various defence operations such as troop and arms transport, convoy escort, patrol and SAR (Search and Rescue) missions. The Ministry of Defence in December 2008, placed an order for 80 Mi-17 V-5 helicopters. The deliveries began in 2011 and were completed in 2018.

Mi-17V-5 is the latest twin-engine iteration of the Russian-made Mi-17 transport helicopter and is used regularly for high-altitude operations.

Described by defence experts as a "reliable, safe, stable, and large", Mi17V-5 helicopter is also used to ferry VIPs, including the President, the Prime Minister and Chief of defence forces. The helicopter can reportedly be used in any topography and weather -- from the cold and challenging mountains of Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh to the plains of Central India -- and has been highlighted in past as one of the most powerful choppers used by Indian defence forces.

According to the information available on the Rosoboronexport website, the Mi-17V-5 helicopter has the capability to land on unprepared sites at night. With heavy armor protection, the helicopter's high target approach accuracy through the use of a satellite navigation system is considered exemplary. 

"The Mi-17V-5 military/transport helicopter is designed to carry personnel, cargo and equipment inside the cargo cabin or on an external sling, drop tactical air assault forces and reconnaissance and sabotage groups, destroy ground targets and carry the wounded," the Rosoboronexport website adds.

Posted By: Mukul Sharma