Nicaragua plans to buy Russian combat aircraft, helicopters

The Mi-8 helicopter, one of the machines presented at the HeliRussia 2008 first international helicopter exhibition. (Foto: RIA Novosti/Ruslan Krivobok)

May 8, 2009, Mexico City -- Nicaragua intends to buy Russian aircraft and helicopters for its armed forces, regional media quoted the country's top military official as saying on Friday.

"We are holding talks with Russia on the purchase of 4 to 8 helicopters and two aircraft for Nicaragua's Armed Forces," said Gen. Omar Halleslevens, the chief of the Nicaraguan army.

Halleslevens did not specify the type of the aircraft, but said the purchases would be used in the fight against drug-trafficking in the country and would not undermine the military balance in Central America.

According to open sources, the Nicaraguan air force currently has several Soviet-made M-8 Hip military transport helicopters, at least five Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters, and two An-26 Curl military transport planes.

Russia and Nicaragua concluded several bilateral agreements after talks between the two countries' presidents, Dmitry Medvedev and Daniel Ortega, in Moscow in December last year.

Moscow recently announced plans to establish an increasingly strong presence in Latin America.
(RIA Novosti)

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