Russian Helicopters has re-delivered four overhauled Mi-17s to the Lao People’s Army Air Force (LPAAF). The holding company, part of Rostec State Corporation, handed over the helicopters during an official ceremony at an undisclosed air base in Vientiane.
The helicopters were repaired under an initial contract placed by the Lao ministry of defence. Work was carried out by “a mobile group of specialists” from Aircraft Repair Plant No 356, a Russian Helicopters subsidiary based in Engels, Saratov region.
The Lao Deputy of Minister of Defence, Phouvong Vongphom, inspected the repaired Mi-17s. Meanwhile, a crew from the LPAAF performed a demonstration flight in one of the helicopters.
In a statement, Andrey Boginskiy, Director General of Russian Helicopters, said: “The holding company is always ready to offer the most comfortable conditions for its customers in terms of both supplying helicopters and rendering after-sales services. Upon the request of the Lao party, we prepared a proposal for the repair of another batch of Mi-17 type helicopters. We hope the decision will be made in the near future.”
Following the event, the parties held negotiations related to the supplies of new helicopters and further co-operation in the area of service support of the previously supplied rotorcraft.
According to Russian Helicopters, the LPAAF aviation fleet comprises over 20 civil and military helicopters produced by the company’s subsidiaries. In addition to Mi-8/17 type helicopters, the country operates medium-utility Ka-32T helicopters.
Based on data from AirForces Intelligence, the LPAAF ordered 12 Mi-17-1Vs ordered from Kazan but only six were delivered: the others were cancelled due to a shortage of funds. One Mi-17-1V has since been written off. More modern Mi-17V-5 versions are also apparently in use – unconfirmed reports suggest five examples in use. Of the two Ka-32Ts received, only one remains operational.