Russian Specialists to Modernize Helicopters in Bulgaria

MOSCOW, March 15 (RIA Novosti)

Moscow and Sofia signed a deal to repair and modernize Soviet-era helicopters in Bulgaria, the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation said on Thursday.

The agreement “to organize repairs and modernization of Mi-17 (Mi-8) and Mi-35 (Mi-24) helicopters and its modifications” was signed in Bulgaria’s defense ministry on March 9.

« This agreement provides an opportunity to improve knowledge and skills of our specialists in repairs and modernization of aviation equipment. It will enable us to preserve the potential of our maintenance facilities and keep jobs for our technical personnel,” Bulgarian Deputy Defense Minister Valentin Radev said.

According to western media reports, Bulgaria currently has four Mi-17 transport helicopters in service, while eight are either undergoing repairs or in storage. Twelve attack helicopters were decommissioned in 2009 after reaching the end of their airframe life.

The Bulgarian defense ministry announced the sale of six Mi-17 and six Mi-17 to modernize the remaining aircraft in January 2011.

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