Russian state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport has received a contract for supply of Mil Mi-17V-5 military transport helicopters to the Nepalese Army.

Covering delivery of two helicopters, the contract was signed between the company and the Nepalese Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 19 December 2013, and was approved by the government last week, the Himalayan Times reports.

The government had already allocated over $30m for the procurement of new twin turbine transport helicopters early last year.

An unnamed military source, familiar with the deal, confirmed the information, without disclosing additional contract details.

An export variant of the Mi-8 Hip helicopter, the Mi-17V-5 is powered by two upgraded TV3-117BM turboshaft engines, and is armed ten large-calibre machine guns, four outboard cassettes with 20 unguided missiles, advanced multifunction cockpit displays and night vision goggles.

The avionics set includes radio and flight navigation equipment for rapid troop airlift and air-fire support missions during day, night and adverse weather conditions, as well as de-icing equipment.

"The government had already allocated over $30m for the procurement of new twin turbine transport helicopters."

Capable of transporting up to 36 passengers or 4t of cargo, the helicopter is equipped with a loading ramp instead of clam-shell doors, an additional door and a new dolphin nose.

Primarily intended for cargo delivery, rescue missions, VIP transport and combat troop support operations across the country, the Nepalese Mi-17V-5s are also expected to conduct the role of a gunship.

Deliveries under the contract are scheduled to take place in 2014.

Nepal had previously acquired three Russian-built Mil Mi-8 helicopters, but only one remains in service due to lack of funds for maintenance.

Defence Technology