African countries receiving Russian helicopters

PRETORIA, South Africa, Russia is to export military Mi-8/17 and Mi-24/35 helicopters to four African countries this year and next, according to Tass news agency.

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“In 2016-2017, we plan to continue exporting these helicopters to Angola, Mali, Sudan, Nigeria,” Tass quoted Rosoboronexport’s Yury Demchenko, head of a Russian delegation to the Africa Aerospace & Defense Expo, as saying. “Our position in the African helicopter market is solid, so we are optimistic about the prospects of cultivating it further.”

In the 2014-2016 period, Russia exported helicopters to Angola, Sudan, Rwanda and Uganda.

Demchenko said many African countries prefer to purchase inexpensive equipment, particularly used equipment. The Mi-8/17 and Mi-24/35 exported to Africa had all gone through “major renovation,” he said.

Business on the continent for Russian exporters is expected to grow, he said.

“By and large the share of Africa in the world export of weapons is relatively small. For instance, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for about two percent, but the statistics of Russian weapons sales by Rosoboronexport in Africa showed steady growth for several years.

“A similar situation can be observed in northern Africa, where a number of countries in recent years considerably built up purchases of Russian weapons to have entered the list of our main partners in the sphere of military-technical cooperation.”

By Richard Tomkins