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Details of multi-million dollar MI-171 helicopter deal revealed

Details of MI-171 helicopter deal have been revealed along with an attempt to procure 60 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) have been revealed.  

This was disclosed by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa at a meeting in Nochchiyagama, news agency reports highlighted.    

The Government of Sri Lanka is planning to purchase four Mi-171 helicopters from Russia at a cost of USD 720,000 even as the country struggles to acquire COVID-19 vaccines for the public, news reports quoted  Mr.Premadasa as saying.

“Yes, we should strengthen our security forces. There is no argument that national security is important. But is this the time to order four helicopters, each costing USD 180,000?” Premadasa said, addressing an event in Nochchiyagama yesterday.

Premadasa claimed the government has ordered 60 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) in addition to the helicopters.

“The government must invest money in the vaccine. Instead of ordering more vaccines that people require to live, what is the need to order helicopters and APCs?” he said.

The main opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) leader urged the government to immediately halt the order of helicopters and use that money to bring in more vaccines.

The Russian made Mi-171 military transport helicopter is designed to perform delivery of manpower, transportation of cargoes and materials inside the cargo cabin or on the external sling as well as for airdropping of tactical troops, air landing of reconnaissance and sabotage groups and destruction of ground objects.

The helicopter can also be operated for medical evacuation, delivery of the emergency medical healthcare onboard, provision of the search and rescue missions in combat conditions.

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