Sunday, July 14, 2013

Copter lifts bulldozers to build Uttarakhand roads -- India

NEW DELHI: Continuing with its Operation Rahat, the IAF's old but gigantic heavy-lift Mi-26 helicopter has flown four sorties since Friday to airlift 17,500 kg of equipment, including two bulldozers, required by the Border Roads Organization to reconstruct roads in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand.

"The two bulldozers were heli-lifted from Pithoragarh to Bangapani, which is 96-km away," said an official. Overall, the IAF helicopters and aircraft since June 18 have airlifted about 21,560 people and thousands of kilogrammes of relief material in around 2,790 sorties.

The Mi-26 is the world's largest and most powerful helicopter capable of lifting up to 20 tonnes. Having inducted four Mi-26s from Russia in the late-1980s, IAF is now left with only two of them. They have used for heavy-lift operations, including the airlift of artillery guns to the Kargil heights during the 1999 conflict with Pakistan.

"The Mi-26 will continue to operate in Uttarakhand to maintain supply of aviation fuel and rescue work as well as provide heli-lift to heavy equipment of the BRO for repair and construction work," said an officer.

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