Izvestia, August 31, 2016, p. 4
Delegation of Bahrain headed by Defense Minister Major General Yusuf bin Ahmed Al Jalahma is going to sign a framework agreement on cooperation with Helicopters of Russia holding (a pat of Rostec). The document will be signed in the framework of forum-show Army-2016.
BAHRAIN MANIFESTS ITS INTEREST IN PURCHASE OF RUSSIAN TRANSPORT HELICOPTERS
Delegation of Bahrain headed by Defense Minister Major General Yusuf bin Ahmed Al Jalahma is going to sign a framework agreement on cooperation with Helicopters of Russia holding (a pat of Rostec). A source in the military industrial complex reports that the agreement does not imply immediate beginning of any supply but confirm the interest of the two countries in development of military technological and military cooperation.
A source in the military industrial complex reported:
– Bahrain manifests its interest in purchase of Russian medium and heavy transport helicopters of Mi-8/17 and Mi-26 families and is also interested in opening of a regional service center for maintenance of helicopters. Interest in Russian products appeared at the beginning of the year after presentation of products of Helicopters of Russia in the framework of Bahrain International Airshow-2016. The line of the newest multipurpose helicopters Mi-171A2, Ansat, Ka-32A11VS and Ka-226T was presented to King of Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa then.
The current visit of the delegation of the country to Army-2016 should confirm this interest and, as the holding hopes, should result in follow-up signing of normal contracts.
At present, regional service centers are considered the main direction for development of the business concept of Helicopters of Russia. This provision is written in the new strategy for development of the holding. The document mentions decrease of international demand for ready-made products and proposes compensation for financial loses through development of aftermarket servicing of the previously supplied helicopters. According to the source, 500 civil and military helicopters made in Russia are operated in the region now. Strategy of the holding implies a comprehensive approach to provision of such services. This may be repair of helicopters or their modernization.
Professor of the Academy of Military Sciences Vadim Kozyulin reported:
– Until recently, Bahrain was oriented more at cooperation with the West. Along with this, since 2014 the country actively finances projects through the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). Investment fund of Bahrain Mumtalakat invested practically in all projects of RDIF, which amounted to about 5% of the overall volume of investments. Along with this, the country became the first foreign customer of Russian antitank systems Kornet-EM.
Editor-in-Chief of Export Vooruzheny magazine Andrei Frolov report that in the last few years cooperation with Bahrain has developed stably and purchase of a batch of helicopters is a quite logical step, moreover so that aircraft traditionally account for more than 50% of the Russian arms export.
The military expert says:
– Bahrain did not stop at the first stops and after purchase of antitank missiles from us it might quite dare to buy a batch of helicopters. They may be needed for its own needs of army, police and special forces and for transfer to allies, for example, in Yemen.
Frolov also did not rule out a deeper political implications of the potential deal.
The analyst presumed:
– This deal is possibly a Saudi advance to Russia. Saudis cannot buy hardware from us directly and that is why in order not to lose the face they act through their nearest ally and formally on its money.
With regard to prospects for creation of a service center, the expert reminds that Russian helicopters are operated in many countries of the region.
– There are our helicopters in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. For example, Iranians bought many Mi-17 helicopters in the 1990s. Time for their repair and modernization is coming now.