Cameroon has ordered an undisclosed number of Mi-17 transport helicopters from Russia at the MAKS 2013 International Air and Space Show, Russian Technologies has revealed.
The contract was signed by Rosoboronexport General Director Anatoly Isaikin and Cameroonian Defence Minister Alain Mebe Ngo’o at the MAKS show held outside Moscow.
“It is the first contract in the sphere of military-technical cooperation signed by Russia and Cameroon. It is a new country for us and we are hoping that the cooperation that began today will be successful,” Rosoboronexport CEO Anatoly Isaikin said in a statement on Wednesday.
Ria Novosti points out that a Russian delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and including the deputy director of the Russian Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation under Russia’s Defence Ministry, travelled to Cameroon in February this year to discuss bilateral cooperation.
“The development of military-technical cooperation with African countries is Rosoboronexport’s marketing priority. In the past year, we resumed our connections with Botswana, Ghana, and Equatorial Guinea,” Isaikin said.
It is not yet clear how many Mi-17s Cameroon will receive or when they will be delivered.
Cameroon’s military is relatively well funded and professional compared to others in the region but faces a shortfall of modern equipment. Its air force only has several Mi-24 Hinds and half a dozen Impala attack aircraft in the way of combat aircraft, although the Impalas are said to be non-operational.
Cameroon’s transport helicopter fleet includes a Bell Long Rangers, a handful of Alouette II and IIIs, a two Eurocopter Super Pumas, four Eurocopter Gazelles armed with HOT anti-tank missiles, a Bell 412 and a single AS 365 Dauphin.
Cameroon is slowly modernising its air force, and received a single Airbus Military CN235M in July this year, which joined its two Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transports.