The border force’s own pilots and other air crew flew the maiden flight in recently inducted MI-17 V5 helicopter from Guwahati in Assam, with Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on board.
Commandants H.D. Lohani and S. Malik, both absorbed from the Indian Air Force, were part of the crew on this occasion as pilots.
“This is a significant achievement and (it) shows the confidence and capability of managing BSF’s resources and expanding the operational envelop of recently inducted modern MI-17 V5 choppers,” a Home Ministry official said.
Till now, BSF aircraft were operated by Indian Air Force personnel.
Lohani and Malik have been providing their services to the BSF for the last few years since their deputation to the BSF. They were recently appointed as pilots after their absorption in the BSF.
“Since its establishment in 1969, the Aviation Wing of the BSF working under the Home Ministry is touching new milestones with each passing day,” the ministry official said.
Based at the Safdarjung airport in New Delhi, the span of BSF Air Wing has now been expanded to Ranchi and Guwahati.
“With this development, the BSF helicopters are now covering the entire length and breadth of the country from hills and forests of Arunachal Pradesh to the vast expanse of the Rann of Kutch,” the official said.
“The Air Wing service has provided the much-needed impetus in the fight against Maoism, as a result their activities have significantly reduced. This is due to a new synergy between the aviation assets of the Home Ministry and its (BSF) troops on ground,” the official added.