Latvia planning to buy six helicopters in coming years

The Defense Ministry and the State Border Guard are planning to buy six helicopters in the coming years; the helicopters could also participate in firefighting operations when necessary.

The Defense Ministry said that it would decide on purchasing four helicopters next month. The agreement on buying the helicopters could be signed already this year, and Latvia could receive the first helicopter in 2021.

The new helicopters will be equipped to perform search and rescue, evacuation, and firefighting operations, said the ministry.

At the moment, the Air Force has four Mi-17 helicopters and two Mi-2 helicopters.

On the other hand, the Border Guard told LETA that it had signed a fleet renovation contract with Leonardo S.p.a., which would replace two Augusta Bell 206B helicopters, manufactured in 1974 and 1980, with two single-engine light helicopters.

Leonardo S.p.a. will also provide training for the helicopters' pilots and ground personnel, and hand over to the Border Guard two new AW 119 Kx helicopters by 2019.

As reported, the National Armed Forces' helicopters, a helicopter from the Lithuanian Air Force and a helicopter from Belarus are currently participating in a firefighting operation in Valdgale County, Talsi Region.

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