Nepal Army (NA) has already started the groundwork for procuring two more Russian made Mi-17 V5 helicopter however, the Ukraine based company has been lobbying NA via political and business agents.
At present, NA and the Government of Nepal have been discussing about the procurement of appropriate helicopter after the Ukrainian company approached with Mi-8 chopper instead of Russian made Mi-17.
On the other hand, Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Rajendra Chhetri already clarified the Defense Ministry that the procurement of Mi-17 does not induce any problems.
As per the information, Russia won’t be able to deliver the aircraft in short period of time but the Ukrainian company has claimed to dispatch the helicopter in no time with more reasonable price than that of Mi-17. Moreover, the Ukrainian company also reported that the Mi-8 helicopter holds same capabilities and features as Mi-17 and the helicopter parts have been bought from Russia and assembled at Ukraine.
Officials from NA said, “The Ukrainian Company is as good as Russian however, they have bought parts from Russia and at present Russian side is not providing body of the aircraft.” Besides, NA also claimed that the Ukrainian helicopter can’t be assumed new because the engine is new but the body isn’t.
The Ministry of Defense said that the deal from Ukraine side could be feasible if their helicopter is of same capability as Mi-17 but the effective decisions have to be made through meetings.
NA has already planned to own two Mi-17 V5 helicopters with an estimated amount of Nrs. 3 arba 40 crores from Rosoboronexpert, only state organization in Russia for exporting the entire range of military, dual-use products and services and technologies. The deal is schemed to be done through Government to Government (G2G) basis due to the difficulty in dispatching amount to the Rosoboronexpert.
NA previously received budget approval for acquiring one helicopter and two fixed wing aircraft. The ministry declared to facilitate NA with additional amount of Rs8crores 56lakhs for the two fixed wing aircraft to be used for training purpose whereas Rs37 crores has been already included in the budget. Likewise, Rs41.8 crores has been allocated for the purchase of light helicopter.