This Soviet origin helicopters was inducted into IAF in the early 60s just before the India China War. It was used extensively for evacuation of troops and local tribal from the battle zone in 1962 war with China.
In both 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan Mi 4 helicopters were used extensively in roles like inter theater movement of troops, casualty evacuation, movement of military equipment, battlefield observation/communication etc. But its use as the proverbial rugged, reliable workhorse was made in 1971 war of Bangladesh liberation where Indian troops required reliable helicopters to move in a terrain that is crisscrossed with innumerable rivers and rivulets. Late Air Chief Marshal PC Lal in his book “My years wit the IAF” had paid glowing tribute to this magnificent flying machine. While describing a very historic heliborne operations in Sylhet sector, in the erstwhile East Pakistan, he mentioned that “the crew of the helicopters had flown for 36 hours continuously...accomplishing helilift of troops of over 5000 men and about 51 tons of equipment flying 409 sorties without a single casualty. He further adds that Mi 4 proved remarkably sturdy in the operations and none of them went unserviceable despite such intensive use. A very well deserved recognition from the Chief himself who had lead IAF into a decisive victory in 1971 war.
By mid-seventies Mi 4s were retired on induction of larger and more advanced Mi 8 helicopters into the IAF, thereby culminating services of a very faithful workhorse of over 15 years.
This painting is tribute to the magnificent men that flew and maintained this wonderful flying machine.