Peru to Buy 24 Helicopters to Fight against Guerrillas

By Dialogo
December 20, 2012

The Peruvian government is evaluating French, Russian and American proposals to acquire 24 helicopters for the Armed Forces, according to Minister of Defense Pedro Cateriano, after attending a ceremony in which five reconditioned helicopters were delivered to the Army to counter guerrillas and drug trafficking on December 15.

“We are negotiating to acquire 24 new helicopters and we already have three proposals,” the Defense Minister told the press once the military ceremony came to an end.

Cateriano stated that the purchase would take place through a government-to-government mechanism, and that they are evaluating proposals from France, the United States and Russia.

The acquisition is expected to materialize after the Armed Forces present their technical opinion, the Minister added, although he did not specify the date on which it would take place.

Four MI-17 helicopters and a 109-K Agusta were delivered at the ceremony. The aircrafts were restored after ten years of being inoperative, with an estimated investment of five million dollars, according to the Ministry of Defense.

According to the U.S. government and the United Nations, Peru is one of the largest cocaine and coca leaf producers worldwide.

For more than a decade, remnants of the insurgent organization Shining Path have settled in the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro rivers valley, where the country’s main coca crops are grown, and where this group operates in collaboration with drug traffickers, according to the Peruvian government.

I applaud the idea of buying more helicopters, but they should be of Russian manufacturing because we already have them and it would be easier to have the same model and maintain it, otherwise we will end up like the army which has all types of trucks, and repairing them is expensive.