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Details of Bolivia Super Puma purchase formalised

17th January 2014 - 16:53 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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A contract between the Bolivian government and Airbus Helicopters for the purchase of six Super Puma AS332 C1e helicopters has been formally signed, with the first two aircraft scheduled for delivery before the end of 2014.

The Super Puma was selected by the Bolivian Air Force as the latest tool in the fight against drug trafficking, and to perform public-security and disaster-relief missions throughout the country.

Airbus Helicopters will deliver the remaining four aircraft before 2016. The contract includes a logistics package that will support fleet sustainability in the coming years.

The selection of the Super Puma aircraft is part of the Bolivian Air Force’s efforts to renew and strengthen its helicopter fleet. The force already operates the Ecureuil AS350 B3 and, as of 2013, two EC145s.

Gen. Victor Hugo Meneses Gomez, Air Chief Marshal of the Bolivian Air Force, said: ‘We are very proud to provide our air force with latest-generation multi-role aircraft that will enable us to successfully carry out our ongoing missions and face the challenges of the future. Bearing in mind the extreme operating conditions in Bolivia, the Super Puma was chosen mainly because of its versatility, safety and, above all else, its ability to operate at high altitude.’
 
Mesrob Karalekian, vice-president of sales and customer relations for Latin America, Airbus Helicopters, added: ‘We would like to thank the Bolivian Air Force for renewing their confidence in our helicopters. The Super Puma is a powerful multi-role helicopter that is perfectly suited to the demands of operating in the region and which, thanks to its state-of-the-art onboard technology, allows missions to achieve more, all in complete safety.’

The contract includes a technology transfer programme that includes the training of more than 80 technicians and pilots in France and Bolivia. Airbus Helicopters will also supply tools for setting up a maintenance centre, where intermediate inspections (every 500 hours) will be carried out, and two operational bases for smaller inspections (every 100 hours); with the objective being for the Bolivian Air Force to acquire strategic autonomy.

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