Sri Lankan Air force has ordered 14 Mi-17 helicopters from Russia’s state run Rosoboronexport, a media report said.
The report says this is part of a US$ 300 million, 10 year loan agreement entered between Russia and Sri Lanka to buy equipment for Sri Lankan security forces.
According to the report, the signing has taken place during this year.
SLAF media spokesman Group Captain Andrew Wijesuriya, when asked by News360.lk regarding the media report, did not either confirm or deny it.
He said “we don’t comment about purchases until we get them on our inventory”.
However Wijeysuriya said, existing Mi – 17’ with the air force are being used for transport purposes.
“We use Mi- 17’s for commercial flying and also during disaster management operations” he added.
Sri Lankan Air force at present is also engaged in offering passenger transport services via Helitours, which is the commercial flying arm of the Air force.
According to Wijeysuriya, Mi-17’s are also being used for surveillance activities, such as helping fishing trawlers when they need help while engaged in fishing activities.
Mi-17 is a medium twin-turbine transport helicopter that can also act as a gunship.
However, SLAF says Mi-17 did not have a military role even during the conflict.
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