ANKARA, Turkey — A new partnership between a Turkish aerospace trade association and Ukraine’s arms trader aims to provide repair and maintenance services for up to 1,500 Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters.
The Turkish Aeronautical Association and Ukrspecexport signed a contract to team up earlier this month at the International Defence Industry Fair in Turkey.
As part of the contract, the partners will initially provide depot-level maintenance and repair services for the 18 Mi-17 helicopters currently in use by Turkey’s Gendarmerie force. Under a preliminary contract, the association had serviced Mi-17s at its maintenance base in the Turkish province of Isparta, although it’s unclear how many helicopters were involved.
The association’s general manager, Cemal Balikci, told Turkey’s semiofficial news agency Anadolu that the depot-level maintenance and repairs for each Mi-17 will cost $2.5 million. Under the preliminary deal, the association would earn $420,000 from each unit upgrade, and the Ukrainian organization would get the rest ($2.08 million).
However, under the new deal, both entities would equally share the $2.5 million per unit.
The association did not respond to Defense News’ request for additional information.
For work on Turkish helos and potentially foreign platforms, a new maintenance and repair facility will be established in the Turkish capital Ankara. Spare parts and engine tests will be carried out in Ukraine by engine maker Motor Sich.
Balikci said his group’s share in the maintenance work will gradually increase as it starts producing spare parts. The association is hoping to win work on approximately 1,500 Mi-17 helicopters in use in nearby countries, particularly in the Middle East and Asia. Balikci said he expects the most immediate work performed under the Turkish-Ukrainian partnership could come from Libya, Pakistan and Azerbaijan.
The manager added that his association aims to also become a repair and maintenance hub for Mi-8 and Mi-24 helicopters.
Burak Ege Bekdil is a Turkey correspondent for Defense News. He has written for Hurriyet Daily News, and worked as Ankara bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswires and CNBC-e television. He is also a fellow at the Middle East Forum and regularly writes for the Middle East Quarterly and Gatestone Institute.