MOSCOW – The creation of a helicopter repair and maintenance center in Venezuela is expected to be completed this year, Igor Chechikov, deputy director of Vertolyoty Rossii (Russian Helicopters), which is part of the state-owned Rostec Corporation.
Previously the opening of the maintenance center was planned for the end of 2018. Over the past ten years, Russia has supplied more than 50 Mi model helicopters to Venezuela.
“At this time almost all the necessary equipment has already arrived in the country, the maintenance technicians are already there, the installation and calibration activities are in progress,” Chechikov said.
According to the deputy director, this is a contract in force for some years now. “Venezuela is interested in continuing the project, and we are interested in fulfilling our commitments and we are going to carry them out,” Chechikov said.
Venezuela is the largest importer of Russian armaments in Latin America. Most of the contracts had been signed and implemented before the onset of political instability in the country.
The various military contracts made with this country amounted to billions of dollars. T-72 tanks, BTR-80 armored vehicles, Pechora missile launch systems, S-300, among others were supplied.
Last Wednesday, Igor Chechikov announced the opening of a Mi-35M helicopter repair and maintenance service center in Brazil, in the city of Belo Horizonte.
Meanwhile the opening ceremony of the helicopter training center, created with the participation of Russian and Venezuelan experts, was held on Friday.
“A modern helicopter training center was built under Rosoboronexport JSC’s contract (part of Rostec State Corporation) with the Venezuelan military-owned company CAVIM,” said Russian state arms exporter’s press service, Rosoboronexport.
A team of Venezuelan experts was trained in Russia according to the rules of operation of Russian simulators (on mobile and stationary ground).
According to the statement, the capabilities of this center allow Venezuelan pilots to undergo comprehensive training in piloting the Mi-17V-5, Mi-35M and Mi-26T helicopters in close proximity to reality.
Rosoboronexport reiterated that Russia remains committed to expanding the cooperation of the defense industry with Venezuela, paying particular attention to the training of experts as well as to the timely maintenance of the equipment provided.
Russian arms deliveries “have provided Venezuela with a strong potential that guarantees the country’s security and defense capabilities,” Rosoboronexport said.