MI-8s served for 45 years after their induction in 1972 and are currently being phased out.
A formal adieu to the Multi-role helicopter fleet of the IAF, MI-8 also known as ‘PRATAP’, took place on December 17. The phasing out ceremony was held at Air Force Station, Yelahanka in Bengaluru.
It was attended by veterans headed by Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major (retd). He flew the last MI-8 mission along with CO 112HU. Air Marshal SRK Nair, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command, IAF was the chief guest on the occasion. Air Marshal Jasjit Singh Kler, Commandant NDA, was also present on the occasion.
112HU is the alma mater of HeliLift. The unit has the record of passing out 119 pilot courses, 89 Flight Engineering courses and 57 Flight gunner courses. MI-8 has been the backbone of medium lift combat capability of Indian Air Force and was ideal platform for graduation of MLH aircrew. The MI-8 helicopter arrived in India in the year 1971 at Bombay and were formally inducted in the Indian Air Force helicopter inventory in the year 1972. Between 1971 and 1988, Indian Air Force inducted 107 MI-8 helicopters.
MI-8s served for 45 years after their induction and are currently being phased out. It was inducted in ten operational helicopter units and it operated in several major IAF operations including Operation Meghdoot in the Siachen Glacier and Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka. The helicopter also operated extensively in Humanitarian and Disaster Relief operations across the length and breadth of the country. 112 Helicopter Unit based at the Air Force Station, Yelahanka, is the last unit to operate this platform.