Mexico wants to do final assembly of Russian helicopters


October 24, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

–, translated by Tom Winter –

RF trade representative Denis MANTUROV in Mexico City
The Corporation Helicopters of Russia is a world leader
Mexico is interested in the Russian Ansat helicopter

Dragonflies for the Aztecs: Trump’s policy will allow Moscow to enter the Central American market …

Our country traditionally has very good relations with the countries of Central and Latin America, and furthermore, with Mexico, which is not a serious exception, despite the fact that it is closest to the United States and, therefore, most closely associated with them.

The interests of Russia and Mexico can coincide here

In this regard, it should not be surprising that Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov has announced significant progress in the negotiations between Moscow and Mexico City, and about Mexico’s proposal to establish the production of Russian helicopters in its territory.

This was said at the summit “Trade and Industrial Dialogue between Russia and Mexico,” which is currently taking place in the Mexican capital. Manturov added that this issue will be carefully analyzed by Russia, after which Moscow will give its official answer.

Another issue is that the increase in the supply of Russian helicopter equipment to the countries of Latin and Central America is part of the national interest of our country and it is obvious that such an offer to Moscow may well be accepted. 

It is not a secret that in the export of this technology, one of the main issues is maintenance, and in this context the creation of a technical hub in Mexico can really become a solution to the maintenance problem.

Moreover, the corporation “Helicopters of Russia” currently needs new markets in order to not only maintain, but also increase the production of its aircraft. In the production and sale of helicopters, our country today is the leader in the world, but at the same time, we have all but reached a saturation with a number of Russian traditional contracts, and for this reason Mexico is really extremely interesting to Russia.

Mexico can become Russia’s key to Central America

In addition, one should remember in this matter also the fact that Mexico has already bought our dual-purpose helicopters, so the Russian-Mexican talks are not being conducted from scratch.

Viktor Heifetz, professor of the Department of Theory and History of International Relations at the Faculty of International Relations of St. Petersburg State University, in conversation with Economy Today noted that such talks between Russia and Mexico have a fairly wide perspective.

“Naturally, the option with Mexico affects only Central America, since within the framework of Brazil and Argentina, Russia will work directly for all its contracts. So in this case it is necessary to talk about Mexico and Central America, where such a scheme of work in this region of the world really has broad prospects.”

In this regard, it should be noted that there are seven states between Colombia and Mexico on the Central American Isthmus:  Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama, which together are a large and promising market.

Mexico needs “peaceful” versions of Russian helicopters

“There are always difficulties with the advancement of such domestic dual-use products as helicopters, but they do exist even in countries that are closer to us politically than modern Mexico. At the same time, Mexico already has experience in purchasing Russian helicopter equipment. However, here, of course, we are talking not about military strike modifications, but about military transport, that is, so-called dual-purpose,” said Heifetz.

This is also not surprising, since the US historically controls this region and tries not to let other international forces come in, so Mexico, as the closest country to the United States in Central America, is oriented to the purchase of US, and mostly obsolete, weapons.

Thus, it should not be surprising that Mexico is less interested in Russian strike helicopters such as the Mi-24, 28 and 35 or the Ka-52, or even the basic military transport Mi-8/17, rather in such wide-profile machines as the Ansat model, now being produced in Tatarstan.

This machine is the cheapest and most peaceful of those helicopters that Russia now offers for active sales in the world market, as a result, this interest of Mexico is logical and economically justified.

Mexico has a serious interest in cooperation with Russia

“Mexico bought the Russian helicopters ten years ago in order to use them for police work. Moreover, it was the domestic pilots who then taught the Mexican police to use them. Probably, we are talking about the continuation of just such contracts, and here one should not expect that this cooperation would go into the supply of military equipment for the needs of the Mexican Army,” concludes Heifetz.

However, as Victor Lazarevich remarks, this does not negate the fact that Mexicans really have a very wide interest in Russian helicopter technology, and, as for its production on the spot, Russia and Mexico will have to solve a number of related issues.

“Mexicans in this matter proceed from quality – Russian helicopters fully satisfy them from a technological point of view. As for the price, some discussion is possible. Also, Mexico City takes into account in this context the question of how much all these projects can be taken care of by local cadres, and here we have to conclude that Mexico today does not have the necessary number of specialists,” Heifetz said.

Therefore, as the expert notes, the idea of assembling Russian helicopters on-site is promising, as it will automatically expand the staff of local specialists in Russian technology and may lead to a reduction in prices, as well as an increase in the total volume of purchases.

“In general, such a scheme is very familiar to Mexicans, since there are very many US assembly enterprises in this country: components are brought to Mexico, and they assemble the finished product,” Heifetz concludes. 

And there one ought not forget about the fact that economic relations between Mexico and the United States will continue to deteriorate in the near future. Accordingly, it is logical that the Mexicans are going to diversify their production, given the current policy of US President Donald Trump. 

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