WARSAW, Poland — Montenegro’s Ministry of Defence has decided to purchase three Bell 412EPI helicopters as part of the country’s military modernization efforts.

The contract is expected to be signed in early 2018, according to information obtained from the ministry by local daily Vijesti. Before the decision was made, other aircraft that were reportedly considered by Montenegro included the H145M, offered by Airbus Helicopters, and Leonardo’s AW139.

Other forthcoming acquisitions for the Montenegrin military include armored vehicles and radars, among other gear. In total, the purchases are estimated to be worth €110 million (U.S. $128 million), of which some €29.9 million will be allocated to the helicopter deal.

The procurements are to be carried out by 2025.

The planned acquisition will mark the first procurement of non-Soviet-designed helicopters to Montenegro, which joined NATO last June. Following the country’s accession to the alliance, Montenegrin officials have unveiled plans to accelerate the process of replacing outdated gear with weapons and gear made by NATO member states.

Following the country’s separation from Serbia in 2006, the Montenegrin military preserved five Soviet-built Mil Mi-8Ts transport helos, but initial plans to upgrade the aircraft were eventually scrapped.

Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.

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