In April of this year, Russia and Bangladesh signed a contract for the purchase of six Russian-made Mil Mi-171Sh combat-transport helicopters as well as one Mi-171E medium-lift transport aircraft, according to Ivan Goncharenko, First Deputy CEO of Rosoboronexport .
“A contract was signed in April 2015 on the delivery of six Mi-171Sh military and transport helicopters, and also one Mi-171E transport helicopter in its Salon option,” he told TASS this Monday in Moscow. Earlier reports spoke of only five M0-171Sh helicopters. In June 2015, Rosoboronexport – the major Russian specialized agency responsible for arms export – also stated that delivery of the first aircraft has already started (production of the helicopters has already begun in February of this year).
Both countries signed an $1 billion arms contract in January 2013 – the biggest since Bangladesh’s independence in 1971. Next to the helicopters it includes armored vehicles, infantry weapons, and air defense systems. Dhaka is allegedly also interested in the purchase of Russian-made diesel-electric submarines. In addition, Moscow announced in February 2015 that it will supply 16 training and combat Fighter Aeroplanes Yak- 130 to Bangladesh.
The Mi-171Sh combat-transport helicopter is produced by Russian Helicopters, a subsidiary of Oboronprom, part of Rostec State Corporation and can be deployed for a wide range of missions including combat search and rescue operations, air-to-surface attacks, carrying assault troops and cargo transportation.
Neither Bangladesh nor Russia have divulged details as to the precise armament of the aircraft but the Mi-171Sh can be equipped with a Shturm-V high-precision guided missile system. According to army-technology.com:
The Shturm-V missile complex launches Ataka supersonic missiles equipped with a hollow-charge warhead for defeating armoured targets. The missile can destroy aerial targets with a fragmentation warhead and lightly armored combat materiel by using a high-explosive warhead.
The Mi-171Sh is also provided with hardpoints to carry up to 80 S-8 unguided rockets and GSh-23L 23mm cannons, with an ammunition load of 500 rounds.
Small arms, such as the 7.62mm PKT machine gun, PK machine gun and RPK light machine gun, are mounted in the nose and rear fuselage sections.
The unarmed Mi-171E can also be used for search and rescue operations, cargo transportation (up to 4,000 kg in its cabin or on an external sling) and routine patrolling. One of the main advantages of the Mi-17E is that it can operate under extreme climate conditions. “The helicopter can operate across localities from steppe to foothills to mountains, and can withstand temperatures from plus to minus 50. The Mi-171E can operate in all weathers and difficult navigation conditions,” according to the website of Russian Helicopters.