(This was originally posted in The Tribune by Vijay Mohan)
The Swiss-origin aviation clock installed in the cockpit of Russian Mi-17 V5 utility helicopters in service with the IAF are being replaced with an indigenously developed digital clock. The project has been entrusted to No.3 Base Repair Depot (BRD) here, which is responsible for the maintenance of Mi-series helicopters.
The digital clock, at times referred to as chronometer in aviation parlance, will be developed in collaboration with public or private commercial entities while adhering to military specifications and operational requirements, IAF sources said. The digital clock keeps track of flying time that has elapsed. It also has the option for providing specific information or a particular type of display.
The quartz aviation clock presently installed in the helicopter was developed by Revue, a Swiss luxury watch maker. Indigenization of aero-spares for all types of aircraft has been a major thrust area for the IAF, for which it has been making in-house efforts as well as tapping the private industry.
BRIEF INFORMATION ABOUT Mi-17 V5 UTILITY HELICOPTER
The IAF’s helicopter fleet has steadily increased in numbers over the past few years, blossoming from a handful of U.S. types in the 60s to over 500 French, Indian and Soviet built types. The pride of the force is, undoubtedly, the Mi-26 heavy lift helicopter which has been operated by No. 126 HU with outstanding results in the mountains of Northern India. The bulk of rotorcraft are Medium Lift Helicopters (MI-17/MI-17IV/MI-17V5 and Mi-8s) well over two hundred of these types serving in helicopter units through out the country, playing a vital logistic support role. Induction of the latest machine, the Mi-17 V5, is a quantum jump in our Medium Heli-lift capability in terms of the avionics, weapon systems as well as its hot and high altitude performance. Medium Lift Helicopters of IAF are operated for commando assault tasks, ferrying supplies and personnel to remote mountain helipads, carrying out SAR (Search and Rescue Operations) and logistic support tasks in the island territories, Siachen Glacier, apart from armed role.