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  • Latin America

    Venezuela Orders Enstroms

    Venezuela's Ministry of Defense has ordered 16 420B training helicopters from Michigan-headquartered Enstrom Helicopter Corporation.

    The helicopters will be utilized by the country's air force and navy with aircraft being delivered within the next 18 months. This is the the first procurement by Venezuela of helicopters from a US original equipment manufacturer in ten years.

    16 Enstrom 480B helicopters will be making their way to Venezuela within the next 18 months

    Also included in the contract are the supply of spare parts and tools, pilot and mechanic training and in-country technical assistance during the life of the contract.

    No details as to the total financial value of the award, however, were disclosed.

    "We are very excited about this opportunity to provide training helicopters for Venezuela," said Tracy Biegler, Enstrom chief executive officer. "This is their first helicopter purchase by Venezuela from a US Original Equipment Manufacturer in more than ten years and we are pleased that the 480B was selected for this requirement."

    Diplomatic and economic relations between Venezuela and the United States have been frayed over the policies of late-President Hugo Chavez and his successor, Nicolas Maduro.

    Enstrom helicopters have been operated by the Venezuelan National Guard since the 1970s. Guillermo Basalo Sucre, owner of Helinautica, the Venezuelan company that negotiated the contract with the Venezuelan government, said Enstrom's product support was a key factor in the decision made by Venezuela's Ministry of Defense.

  • #2
    Brazilian Navy Upgrades Lynx

    The Brazilian Navy has signed a contract for a major midlife upgrade of eight Lynx Mk21A helicopters. The contract, valued in excess of US$160 million (€117 million), includes replacement of the aircraft’s engines with the CTS800-4N product from LHTEC, navigation, displays suite and mission avionics. A comprehensive support and training package that includes a Flight Training Device is also included in the contract.

    The upgrade activities will begin in mid-2015 at AgustaWestland’s plant in Yeovil, United Kingdom, with the first helicopter scheduled to be delivered back to the customer in the Autumn of 2017. The complete batch of upgraded aircraft is planned to be delivered by early 2019.

    Brazilian Lynx to be upgraded

    These upgrades will give Brazil’s Naval Aviation a significant improvement in its capabilities, with better performance, operational range and aircraft mission effectiveness. The upgrade programme provides evidence of the company’s capability and expertise in naval rotorcraft, and further strengthens the long standing partnership with this leading operator which has operated Lynx helicopters since 1978.

    The new generation CTS800-4N engines, already used on the British Army Lynx Mk9A, the Super Lynx 300 and the AW159, will provide the helicopters with major performance improvements in hot and high environments, enabling increased payload and an extended area of operation. A new glass cockpit will be complimented by an advanced avionic suite comprising a tactical processor, satellite based navigation system, traffic collision avoidance system, instrument landing system, radar warning receiver/electronic surveillance measures integrated with countermeasures dispensers and a full Night Vision Goggle compatible cockpit, together with a new electrically powered rescue hoist.


    • #3
      Brazil to Buy Black Hawks

      The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters and associated equipment to Brazil.

      Under the estimated $145m programme, Brazil has requested for supply of three UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, along with eight T-700-GE-701C engines, including six installed and two spares, 12 M-134 7.62mm machine guns, and eight H765GU embedded global positioning system/inertial navigation systems.

      The package also includes spare and repair parts, tools and support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, as well as other related elements of logistics support.

      UH-60M Black Hawks will soon be in operation by Brazil's defence forces

      "The helicopters are required by Brazil to fulfil its strategic commitments for additional search-and-rescue and internal security capabilities."

      The helicopters are required by Brazil to fulfil its strategic commitments for additional search-and-rescue and internal security capabilities.

      Specifically, the purchase is expected to upgrade Brazil's air mobility capability and provide for the defence of vital installations and close air support for ground forces.

      Approved by the US State Department, the sale contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to enhance the security of Brazil, which continues to serve as an important force for political stability and economic progress in South America.

      Sikorsky Aircraft, General Electric Engines, and Dillon Aero Systems have been named as primary contractors for the FMS programme.

      Manufactured by Sikorsky, the UH-60M is an upgraded variant of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, featuring improved rotor blades and advanced flight control and aircraft navigation control systems.

      This sale comes on the heels of recent sales of the Black Hawk to Tunisia as well as 18 units recently sold to Mexico.​


      • #4
        New Market for Chinese Z-9 Helicopters in Bolivia

        Bolivia has become the 11th nation to purchase Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation's Z-9 helicopters from China, Beijing's China Youth Daily reported on Dec. 18.

        Since its first sale in 1981, Z-9 helicopters have been exported to 10 countries including Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, Laos, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, Pakistan, Venezuela and Zambia. The Bolivian Army Air Service made its decision to purchase six H-425s, the upgraded version of the H-9, from China three months ago. Under this program, China is also responsible for training 12 pilots and 38 ground crew members for the Bolivian Army.

        Bolivia has upgraded its Harbin Z-9's for H-425's

        In addition to the H-425 helicopter, China also provided a flight simulator to the Bolivian government. The H-425s will be used to conduct transport and supply missions, as well as reconnaissance, medical evacuation, humanitarian aid missions, anti-trafficking, and firefighting operations. The H-425 is not the only Chinese aircraft Bolivia has purchased in recent years. Bolivia currently has two MA60 passenger aircraft designed by Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation in service.

        The Harbin 425 is officially 'launched'

        China is currently trying to expand its military aircraft market into the United States' backyard through exporting K-8Es and H-425s to Bolivia. The country has not hear any protest from the US about it, nor has France said anything about the sale of the Z-9s, despite the fact that the helicopter was based on France's Eurocopter's AS365 Dauphin. Hongdu Aviation Industry Group's Z-8 helicopter was also developed off the blueprint of the French-built Super Frelons.

        Back in 2009, Bolivia bought six K-8E (Chinese jet trainers) for its air force.​


        • #5

          US Firm AAR Wins Falklands SAR Helicopter Contract

          US-based defence contractor AAR has been awarded a 10-year contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide helicopter search and rescue and support services in the Falkland Islands.

          Valued at around £180 million ($275 million), the deal, which goes live in April 2016, will see AAR’s airlift division working alongside British International Helicopters – the current provider of rotary-wing support services on the islands – and Air Rescue Systems.

          The partners plan to deploy AgustaWestland AW189s and Sikorsky S-61s for the requirement, although the exact number of each type has not been specified.

          SAR cover for the Falklands and surrounding waters is presently provided by the Royal Air Force using Westland Sea Kings, which are to be progressively retired from April 2015.

          Bristow Helicopters, which begins taking SAR operations in the UK from April this year, had been considered a favourite for the contract. Also on the MoD’s shortlist were Avincis, CHC Scotia and Cobham.