Indian Air Force bid farewell to one its longest-serving attack helicopters, the MI-8, at a phasing out ceremony held on Sunday evening at the Air Force Station, Yelahanka in Bengaluru.
The MI-8’s served the Indian Air Force for 45 years after their induction way back in 1972. Air Chief Marshall (Retd) Fali Homi Major flew the last MI-8 mission along with CO 112HU for 10 minutes at the height of 1.5 kms and speed of 120 kms.
Former Air Chief Fali Homi Major described Mi 8 as one the finest helicopter which served as the backbone of IAF’s attacks prowess.
The first Mi-8 helicopter arrived in India in the year 1971 at Bombay. In 1972 MI-8 helicopters were formally inducted into the Indian Air Force. From 1972 to 1998, the IAF inducted 107 Mi-8 helicopters, rechristened as the “PRATAP”.
Mi 8 helicopter's showcased their Ariel warfare capabilities by playing a major role in Operation Meghdoot in the Siachen Glacier and Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka added Air Marshal SRK Nair, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command, IAF.
Mi-8 helicopters had also taken part in various Humanitarian and Disaster Relief operations across the country. This helicopter was also used for flying VIP’s/VVIP's for over decades.