The Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) has deployed a pair of Mil Mi-17 Hip medium-lift utility helicopters to support a United Nations (UN)-sponsored peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic.
The two helicopters – which are operating under the UN banner – were transferred to an undisclosed location in the Central African Republic by a UN-chartered Antonov An-124 heavy-lift strategic transport from Maximus Air Cargo between March 29 and April 2. These aircraft replaced three Sri Lankan Mi-17s that had been supporting the UN’s Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), which have since returned to Sri Lanka.
According to the SLAF, “the aircraft rotation was coordinated through [the] SLAF UN Mission Cell under the supervision of [the] Chief of Staff, Director Air Operations, Director Aeronautical Engineering and Director Logistics.”
The SLAF operates a number of different variants of the Mi-17 Hip family of utility helicopters, all of which are employed by 6 Helicopter Squadron from SLAF Base Anuradhapura (also known as Anuradhapura Airport) in Sri Lanka’s North Central Province. AirForces Intelligence data states that – as of April 6, 2022 – the SLAF operates 14 Mi-171E Hip-Hs; four Mi-171 Hip-Hs; two Mi-17V-5 Hip-Hs and one Mi-17-1V Hip-H.