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Pilots need tremendous skill in such an operation

Archana Masih in Mumbai | November 28, 2008 11:03 IST

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As the operation to eliminate the terrorists moves into Day 3, it is mainly being carried out by the elite National Security Guard. "The Marine Commandos were withdrawn from the Trident hotel last night. Indian Air Force helicopters have been used to airdrop commandos at the Nariman House this morning," Captain Nambiar, the Defence Public Relations Officer in Mumbai, tiold

The helicopter deployed is a multi-utility aircraft that can be used as a transport helicopter and also in an armed role that can fire ammunition. It is a newer version of the erstwhile Mi8 and is called the Mi17�IV.

It is a Russian-made helicopter "which is being used in the troop carrier version in the Nariman House operation. It needs precision and skill to hover and fly close in a crowded area like it was done," said an Indian Air Force Officer, speaking on deep background.

The pilot needs a lot of skill to keep the helicopter still as commandos slither down a rope like it was done on the rooftop in a busy area, he added.

The helicopter can carry 24 fully armed troops and four tons of weight and has been used for a long time by the Indian Air Force. It can fly at 240 km an hour and is flown by two pilots and an engineer.

It is used for air to surface recover, maintenance of troops etc. It is also used to drop supplies to troops on the Siachen glacier.

Meanwhile, Indian Navy patrolling has been extended up to Gujarat; the two marine commandos injured on Thursday are recovering in hospital.

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