KIEV: Ukraine on Saturday signed a contract with France’s Airbus to buy 55 of its civil helicopters for 555 million euros ($650 million) in the biggest-ever deal reached between the two countries.
The deal for the 24 H125, 10 H145 and 21 H225 helicopters was signed in Kiev by a representative of Ukraine’s interior ministry and Airbus Helicopters company bosses.
“This contract makes it possible to use 55 helicopters to ensure the safety of our citizens,” Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said at the ceremony.
“This is an unprecedented volume and it opens up new opportunities for cooperation.”
The helicopters are expected to be used for various civil security purposes, including border monitoring, policing and emergency situations.
“For us, this is highly symbolic. I want to thank you for this your choice,” French Ambassador Isabelle Dumont said as the contract was inked on Bastille Day.
The deal includes not only the helicopters themselves but also technical support and training for pilots.
Of the 555 million euros, 85 percent will be covered by a loan from the French treasury and French banks.
A delivery of first four H225 Super Puma helicopters is expected this year.—AFP