Friday, 07 May 2021 09:29

SLAF to purchase four Mi-171 helicopters for UN Peace keeping mission Featured

Sri Lanka will be purchasing four Mi-171 helicopters under a renewed credit line by the Russian government for the use in United Nations peace keeping mission of Sri Lanka in Africa, Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) announced.

According to Air Force Spokesman Group Captain Dushan Wijesinghe , the Mi -171 helicopter purchase for the deployment in Africa for UN peace keeping operations of Sri troupes was on a government-to-government basis .

He pointed out that the line of credit given by Russia was confined only for the purchasing military hardware for the Sri Lankan armed forces and it cannot be used to purchase medical supplies.

Sri Lanka is to use the renewed line of credit from Russia to buy 10 Mi 171 multirole helicopters for its Air Force (SLAF).

A partly used $ 300 million credit line, which lapsed in 2015 and has been renewed by Russia to allow Sri Lanka to purchase a Gepard 5.1 Offshore Patrol Vessel OPV) will be used to buy 10 Mi-171 helicopters international news agency reports revealed.

The SLAF also wants to purchase four more Mi 17 helicopters at a cost of more than Rs 14.3 billion for use in United Nations assignments as peace keepers.

It is mandatory in terms of UN rules that forces joining UN peace keeping missions in trouble spots around the world undertake assignments with their own equipment. Such investment takes long years to recover.

In the case of a Sri Lanka Army deployment, it was originally estimated it would be five years but it continued thereafter.

This as well as the ten helicopters for SLAF use will come from the original manufacturers, Ulan Ude plant in Russia, news reports disclosed. .

Sri Lanka plans to purchase helicopters of different makes and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) at a staggering cost of more than Rs 64.8 billion ($408 million), it said.

SLAF spokesman noted that that Russia had provided the loan at a low interest rate with a long-term repayment period and Sri Lanka will be able to repay it with the earnings received from UN missions.

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