Latvia to buy more military helicopters from U.S.

Latvia will purchase four MD 530F light helicopters for its National Armed Forces (NBS) from the United States, the Ministry of Defense announced October 16.

"The purchased helicopters will help carry out air operations against enemy targets at close range, provide air support for combat search and rescue operations, as well as carry out tactical reconnaissance and transport operations," said a release.

While the helicopters can be armed if required, in peacetime they will be used for training purposes, the Ministry said.

"It is expected that Latvia will receive a full cost offer from the manufacturer in the first half of next year, then it will be possible to agree on a specific delivery term," the release said, without giving any estimates of either cost or timeframe.

Latvia has already purchased four UH-60M "Black Hawk" helicopters, which replace outmoded Soviet-era Mi-17 aircraft, which were in turn donated to Ukraine.

According to the manufacturer, MD Helicopters, the MD 530F is "a five-blade, four-passenger, single-engine, single-pilot capable, multipurpose aircraft designed to meet extreme requirements in hot-temperature, high-altitude operations."

The promotional video below shows one the choppers in service with the Lebanese Air Force. According to MD Helicopters, it has recently signed significant supply deals with Nigeria and an unnamed "Middle East customer".


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