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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Jets to be sold to Mexico, Brazil, pilots trained in Venezuela

RIA Novosti

28/09/2006 11:46 BUENOS-AIRES, September 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's state-owned arms exporter said Thursday it will soon sign deals to export Sukhoi warplanes to Mexico and Brazil, and will open helicopter maintenance and pilot training centers in Venezuela.

Rosoboronexport's regional department head, Sergei Ladygin, said: "We hope that Sukhoi planes will soon appear in Latin American countries."

Speaking on the sidelines of a military exhibition in Argentina, SINPRODE-2006, Ladygin said Rosoboronexport will also offer a modernized version of the Mig-29 Fulcrum fighter to Mexico and Brazil.

The official said the company will also continue to cooperate with Venezuela by building helicopter maintenance and pilot training centers in the country.

"A technical support center in Venezuela will provide maintenance and upgrading services, including the repair of Russian helicopter engines," he said, adding that Russia will export 58 Mi-17B5 Hip H, Mi-35M Hind and Mi-26T Havoc helicopters to Venezuela.

A visit by Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez to Russia in July yielded arms deals worth $3.5 billion. Venezuela bought 24 Russian Su-30MK Flanker-C air superiority fighters for $1.5 billion.

The first two planes will be delivered to Venezuela by the end of the year, and deliveries will be completed by the end of July 2008, Ladygin said. He added that the Latin American country paid for the contracts with hard currency.

The official also said that Rosoboronexport will sign contracts with the Chilean Air Force and land troops for the purchase of Mi-17B5 Hip H helicopters.

"This summer, Chile received a prototype helicopter that has been flown in all climate conditions and has gained a good reputation," he said.

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