20:42 | 03/ 07/ 2008
SURABAYA, July 3 (RIA Novosti) - The first three Russian Mi-17-B5 Hip H medium assault/transport helicopters were delivered to Indonesia on Thursday.
Russia signed a contract with Indonesia in 2005 to supply six helicopters made by the Kazan helicopter plant.
"Three helicopters were delivered to the Indonesian ground forces base in the city of Surabaya this morning. Their assembly will start Friday," Andrei Mironov, who will oversee the assembly of the helicopters, told RIA Novosti Thursday.
Mironov said the remaining three helicopters would arrive in the country soon.
Nikolai Kireyev, a representative of Russian state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport in Jakarta, said 15 pilots and technical specialists from Indonesia visited the Kazan helicopter plant in Russia's Volga area in the spring for three months of training.
In fall 2007, then Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed with Indonesia's leadership on Russia allocating a $1 billion loan for Indonesia to buy 22 helicopters, 20 tanks and two submarines made in Russia. Additionally, Jakarta said it would buy six Su aircraft worth a total of $335 million.
Mi-17 is a version of the Mi-8 airframe. The helicopter has a takeoff weight of 13 metric tons and can carry up to 36 people or a payload of 4 tons within the cabin or 4.5 tons outside it. The helicopters have been delivered to 80 countries.
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