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05:07 AM, July 5, 2018
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Mi-171 A2 multirole helicopter (Image: Russian Helicopters)

Sri Lanka is likely 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, Sri Lanka Guardian reported last month.

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.

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

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