Procurement: Peru Gets Russian Choppers

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May 1, 2010:  Peru has ordered eight helicopters from Russia (six Mi-17s and two Mi-35s) for $250 million. This is at the high end of what these helicopters usually go for (even when including support and spares), indicating provision may have been made for bribes.

The Mi-17 is the export version of the Russian Mi-8, a twin-engine helicopter, roughly equivalent to the U.S. UH-1. But the Mi-8/17 is still in production and is the most widely exported (2,800 out of 12,000 made) helicopter on the planet. The Mi-8 is about twice the size and weight of the UH-1, but only hauls about 50 percent more cargo. However, the Mi-8 had a larger interior, and can carry 24 troops, versus a dozen in the UH-1. The UH-1 was replaced by the UH-60 in the 1980s, while the Mi-8 just kept adding better engines and electronics to the basic Mi-8 frame. The UH-60, while weighing ten tons (compared to UH-1s' 4.8 tons), could carry as much as the 12 ton Mi-8. But the Mi-8 costs about half as much as a UH-60, and the larger interior is popular with many users. Russia also charges less for training pilots and mechanics. Venezuela has set up a school for Mi-17 and Mi-35 crews and maintainers, which is where the Peruvians may go for training.

The Mi-35 is the export version of the most recent version of the Mi-24 helicopter gunship. This is a twelve ton helicopter gunship that also has a cargo area that can hold up to eight people, or four stretchers. The Mi-24 can carry rockets, missiles bombs and automatic cannon. It is used by over thirty countries, and has a pretty good reputation for reliability. The design is based on the earlier Mi-8 transport helicopter.

 

 


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