Lithuania ordered three AS365 N3+ Dauphin helicopters from Eurocopter. Pictured: A French Dauphin helicopter flies over the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle in 2011. (Eric Feferberg / Getty Images)
WARSAW — Lithuania’s Ministry of Defense announced it has ordered three AS365 N3+ Dauphin helicopters from Eurocopter. The procurement is worth about 180 million litas (US $71.9 million), reported local daily Lietuvos rytas.
The new copters will replace the Soviet-designed Mi-8, Defense Minister Juozas Olekas told the newspaper. The helos will mainly be used in search-and-rescue missions, the minister said.
The contract also covers related equipment, and training and maintenance services. Under the plan, one of the new helos is to be acquired with funds provided to Lithuania by the European Union under its 2007-2013 budget.
In a bid to increase the airlift capacity of its armed forces, Lithuania is reportedly planning to acquire further helicopters by 2016.
The Dauphin is a twin-engine helicopter with a maximum takeoff weight of 4.3 tons.
Eurocopter is a subsidiary of European aerospace group EADS.