The Balochistan provincial government has received an Mi-171E non-combat helicopter from Russian helicopters, Russian news agency Tass reported.

The Mi-171 is a civilian variant of the Mi-17 military cargo helicopter, which is already in service in the Pakistan Army.

The Mi-17 is widely used across the world due to its reliability and ability to operate in all climates, and could be used by the provincial government to transport cargo or passengers, or as an emergency response aircraft.

The Balochistan government and Russian Helicopters inked a supply contract worth $15.2 million in Jan 2017, the Tass report said.

The Mi-171E is a convertible model of the chopper, in which the cabin can be transformed from a freight to a VIP cabin with 13 seats which also accommodate the option of a flight attendant.

The helicopter can carry up to 27 passengers and 4 tonnes of cargo inside the cabin or via the external suspension in its transport version, the report said, adding that three points for direct deployment allow for quick landing of paratroopers and rescuers when the helicopter is hovering.

In the case of a medical emergency, the chopper can be used as an ambulance as it has the capacity to carry 14 stretchers if seats are replaced.

"I am confident the convertible Mi-171E handed over to the customer will perform decently when accomplishing any missions, whether in passenger and freight carriage or in medical, search and rescue operations," Tass quoted Russian Helicopters Chief Executive Officer Andrei Boginsky as saying.

Russian Helicopters has sold Mi-171E helicopters to several countries, including China.

This is the second Mi-171E helicopter delivered to the country this year ─ the Punjab government had acquired the same model of helicopter a few months ago.

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