Brazil to decide on Russian helicopter supplies by end of month

The Brazilian Defense Ministry will decide by the end of the month whether its contract on the supply of Russian helicopters will be affected by planned massive military budget cuts, a ministry source said.

“This year’s ministry plan stipulates that the contract on the supply of Russian Mi-35M helicopters should be fulfilled, and we cannot say now which of the projects may be affected by the cuts,” the source said.

The decision on the issue will be made by the end of April, he said.

Brazil’s government has announced that it will cut 4,2 billion Brazilian real (about $2.4 billion), or about 27 percent, from its 15.17 billion defense budget this year under proposed fiscal tightening.

A source in the country’s military industry told RIA Novosti on Tuesday that Brazil had delayed for an indefinite time the purchase of a second bunch of Russian Mi-35M combat transport helicopters following the announcement of the cuts.

Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport won a tender for the supply of 12 Mi-35M helicopters to Brazil in 2008. Half of the helicopters have already been delivered to the Latin American country, and the rest six aircraft were planned to be supplied by the end of 2011.

Russia, the world’s second largest arms exporter after the United States, sold $8.6 billion worth of weaponry last year and is looking to increase its arms sales to almost $10 bln in 2011.

Among the Latin American countries, Venezuela is Russia’s major arms trade partner. Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and Ecuador have also expressed their interest in Russian air defense systems, radars, combat aircraft and helicopters, naval equipment, and small arms.


RIO DE JANEIRO, April 14 (RIA Novosti)

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