NICE, SOLID primer on BSF’s growing Air Wing


Induction of Two New Mi – 17 V5 in BSF

The two new advanced Mi – 17 V5 have landed in India and to be inducted into the BSF Air Wing, which are tasked to carry air support missions for BSF troops along the borders and in the hinterland for Anti-Naxal operations.

The Russian made Mi- 17 V5 choppers will boost the flying capability of BSF that are deployed for a variety of Internal Security tasks in some of the most arduous and inhospitable conditions at numerous locations.

The two new Mi – 17 V5 initially based at the BSF Hanger at Safdarjung Airport are to be inducted into the fleet by Hon’ble Union Home Minister of India Shri Rajnath Singh on 09th April 2015 at 1500 Hrs at Safdarjung Airport, BSF Air Wing, Hanger No 1, New Delhi.

These two Mi – 17 V5 are armed with the latest avionics and night flying capabilities which has been a long-time requirement for Border Security Force which is undertaking operations in Naxal violence affected zones.

Introduction of BSF Air Wing

BSF Air Wing has a fleet of 04 Fixed Wing (FW) aircrafts(Embraer-01, Avro- 02 and SKA B-200- 01) and 13 helicopters operating under aegis of MHA. BSF Air Wing is involved in providing required Air support to the nation for addressing threats to the internal security since 1969. As of date Rotary Wing fleet consists of 06 MI-17 1V, 06 ALH (Dhruv) and 01 Cheetah helicopter. These  helicopters are operating from BSF Air bases established at Ranchi, Raipur, Agartala, Srinagar  and Safdarjung Airport, New Delhi.

Medium lift helicopters (MLH) MI-17 1V fleet was inducted in BSF in 2003. These helicopters were procured under J & K action plan. Earlier this fleet was mainly used for air logistics and communication tasks. However, in the last few years their employment and the scope of their utilization has extended to include disaster relief, Special Heliborne Operations (SHBO) for the National Security Guards, Anti-Naxal Operations, Counter Insurgency Operations, Air-maintenance of the remote Border Out Posts, Casualty Evacuation etc. The versatility of the MI-17 platform has opened up new avenues for additional tasks like reconnaissance, security, urban policing, VIP movement etc.  There is an expanding operational requirement to augment our capacity of medium lift helicopters due to the dynamic nature of national security threats,. The additional role and tasks demanded for expansion and modernization of the existing medium lift helicopter fleet of BSF Air Wing.

To meet the increased role and tasks that MHA has mandated on BSF Air Wing, procurement of eight Mi 17 V5 helicopters was dovetailed with the demand of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Aviation Research centre (ARC) and the procurement was centrally handled by MoD with Rosoboronexport, Russia.

Our Govt’s operational directive, enunciated the security environment and likely internal security scenario in the country which is to be largely addressed by CAPF. The Govt. recognizes the increasing use of air dimension in addressing the internal security challenges in the country. Air assets provide the most effective assistance to the internal security challenges like CI Operations, IS Duties, Anti-Naxal Operations, Disaster Management, Elections, Urban Policing, specialized anti-terrorist tasks.

The Govt’s aim is to provide short, swift and sharp air-lift capabilities to the troops of CAPFs and assist in ground operations. Any ground movement of troops is time consuming, vulnerable to IEDs  and ambushes by the Naxals. The security forces are required to operate from deep inside the inaccessible terrain in these areas with continuous shifting of their operation sites. Therefore, the safest and quickest passage can only be attained by creating Air-bridge with the help of MLH between the CAPF bases. Hence Govt has decided to deploy these MI 17 V5 helicopters in Delhi, Raipur and Ranchi airbases.

Utility of MI 17 V5 is also very much relevant in following operational scenario.

(i)        Induction & de-induction of troops.

(ii)       Air support for ground operations.

(iii)     Casualty evacuation.

(iv)      Disaster Management and NBC scenario.

(v)       Specialist Counter-insurgency operations.

(vi)      Internal Security Duties, Election Duties, etc.

(vii)    Specialized anti-terrorist tasks including training especially NSG.

(viii)   Performing tasks like Shifting of detainees, carrying of arms, ammunition and other materials.

The MI-17 V5 helicopters are most suitable for the above requirements due to following reasons:-

(i)        Large carrying capacity (approx 36 troops at a time).

(ii)       Suitable for Armour plating to bear Naxal fire.

(iii)     Capable of undertaking fire fighting ops (can carry water bucket of 5000 litres.

(iv)      Capable of operating in nuclear disaster by using specialized lead plates.

(v)       Capable of operating in all areas upto 200 kms radius.

(vi)      Capability of converting into air- ambulance.

(vii)    Suitable for all required tasks.

Out of total 08 Mi 17 V5 helicopters, first batch of 02 Mi 17 V5 helicopters have arrived & are being inducted in BSF Air Wing. Rest of the 06 helicopters will be inducted in two phases during the current financial year (2015-16).  The next batch of 3 hepters are planned to be arrived in May & balance 03 hepters in Sep 2015.

Necessity of Air Wing in BSF

At many places, the deployment of BSF is such that for most of the year the road link is totally cut off. For any emergencies arising in these areas and for augmenting the administrative support to these places, the dependence on the Air route was felt. To overcome these problems. It was felt the need of BSF Air Wing and this Air Wing was established with one Queen Air in 1969. Though the initial operations were limited. With the increase in the use of Queen Air, the need was felt for increasing the number and types of Aircrafts in the inventory of BSF.

Thereby two Dakotas were purchased in 1970s. These Dakotas were kept in service till 1980 and then as the Dakotas were replaced by AVROs. In the year 1982, Super King B200 Aircraft was added to the inventory of BSF, to increase the air capabilities of BSF.

During that period BSF air fleet was utilized to air support to just a single force i.e. BSF. The scope of duties was extended to all other CAPFs and Air Wing was re-designated as a common pool of CAPFs.

In the year 1993 so as to augment the operations in the Arid regions of Rajasthan Ranns of Gujrat, Chetak helicopter was inducted.



S.No Year Type of Aircraft &     Nos Base
1. 1969 Queen Air C-80            : 01 New Delhi
2. 1969 MI – 4 H/c                    : 04 O&M – IAF
3. 1972 Dakota                                      : 01 New Delhi
4. 1974 Dakota                          : 04 New Delhi
5. 1982 SKA B-200                   : 01 New Delhi
6. 1982 HS – 748 Avro                         : 01 New Delhi
7. 1984 HS – 748 Avro                         : 01 New Delhi
8. 1987 SKA B-200                   : 01 New Delhi
9. 1990 Chetak H/c                    : 01 Jodhpur
10. 1991 HS – 748 Avro                         : 03 New Delhi
11. 1994 SKA B – 200                : 01 New Delhi
12. 1997 Cheetah H/c                  : 01 J & K
13. 2003 Mi – 17 1V H/c             : 06 New Delhi
14. 2005 Embraer 135 BJ            : 01 New Delhi
15. 2009 ALH                             : 08 Raipur, Ranchi, AGartala
16. 2015 Mi – 17 V5 H/c             02: 08 Raipur, Ranchi, Sringar, Delhi


 (Text by Public Relations Officer, BSF)



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