The Indian Air Force will involve the helicopter gunships Mi-17V-5 of Russian production from the airbase in Nagpur, the western Indian state Maharashtra, in the operations against the Maoist militants, Commander of the Indian Air Force Norman Anil Kumar Browne told reporters on Wednesday.

In his words, the deployment of the helicopter gunships Mi-17V-5 will enable the ground troops to give a rapid response to the raids of militants.

The appropriate decision was taken after the Maoists attacked a convoy with the politicians from a branch of the ruling Indian National Congress in Chhattisgarh on May 25. 24 people, including head of a branch of the Indian National Congress in Chhattisgarh Mahendra Karma, were killed. Vidya Charan Shukla, who held different ministerial posts in the government headed by Indira Gandhi in the sixties of the previous century, was injured. Chairwoman of the Indian National Congress Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the attack.

The helicopter gunships Mi-17V-5 are a state-of-the-art modification of the helicopter gunship Mi-17. The helicopter gunship is designed for the transportation of cargoes and paratroopers and suspended bulky goods. The armed model of the helicopter is intended for the combat support to the ground troops, paratroopers in the landing or evacuation and for precise bombing.

From January to November 2011 over 500 people were killed in the raids of armed Maoist groups in India.

Six helicopter gunships Mi-17 are engaged in the operations against the extremists. India concluded with Russia a contract for the delivery of 80 helicopter gunships Mi-17V-5. 21 helicopter gunships of this model were supplied to India.