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(Photo: Philippe Marcou/AFP/Getty Images)
GABORONE, BOTSWANA — Russian defense and aerospace equipment manufacturer Russian Helicopters says that,over the next two years, it will undertake comprehensive maintenance, repair and overhaul works on 41 Mi-8 T and three Mi-17 helicopters of the Egyptian Air Force at the country’s main military industrial complex outside Cairo.
In a statement released on Dec. 8, Russian Russian Helicopters Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alexander Mikheev said the agreement with Egypt also provides for the retooling and upgrading of the aircraft repair plant at the Helwan Factory for Developed Industries (HFDI) to provide technical support to the MRO program.
”The Egyptian Air Force’s fleet of 41 Mi-8Ts and 3 Mi-17-1V helicopters will all undergo comprehensive repair work at this facility,” he said. ”We feel it is vital to build upon the already positive image that Russian-made helicopters have abroad.”
”That is why we are prioritizing work to establish an after-sales network providing first-class maintenance and repair services for Russian-made helicopters throughout their full life-cycle,” Mikheev said.
In addition, the company will train Egyptian Air Force aviation technicians and mechanics in the conduct of comprehensive repair and overhaul works on Mi-8T, Mi-17v-5 and Mi-17v-1 helicopter models at the Novosibirsk Aircraft Repair Plant, its main factory in Russia.
Mikheev said all operators of Russian Helicopters in the Middle East and North Africa regions should take advantage of the new Egyptian facility to get genuine after-sales technical support, spares and accessories to avoid aircraft accidents and costly equipment loses arising from the use of copy-cat components on its products.
”We urge all those who operate Russian Helicopters globally to take this opportunity to use the after-sales service provision offered by Russian Helicopters or certified enterprises, and to steer clear of dubious suppliers and providers,” he said. ”After all, the lives of pilots and many others depend on the quality of the components used and of the repairs and maintenance work carried out.”
The Helwan facility is the second Russian Helicopters MRO center to be set up in Africa. It comes two years after the company certified South African defense and aerospace equipment manufacturer Denel Aviation to provision of maintenance, repair and overhaul works for its models of military and civilian helicopters in Africa.
Last year, the Russian company announced that it was negotiating for the possible establishment of an additional MRO facility in Nigeria to serve the operators of its military and civilian aircraft in West Africa.
Russian Helicopters products — especially the Mi-8, Mi-17, Mi-26, Mi-28 and Mi-35 models — are operated in combat and transportation roles by the majority of airforces in North, East, West, Central and Southern Africa.
Hundreds of broken-down earlier models, some of which can be salvaged for repair, are also being held by many African air forces, which lack funds for essential equipment repairs.
Russian-made civilian helicopters are also used extensively in the transportation of personnel and humanitarian aid, search and rescue, medical evacuation and off-shore aviation services, which are expanding with the discovery of more hydrocarbon resources on either side of the African continental shelf.