Ukraine signs order for 55 Airbus Helicopters


Ukraine has signed a contract with France to purchase 55 Airbus helicopters for by the Ukrainian Internal Affairs Ministry.

Arsen Avakov, the Ukrainian interior minister, announced on Twitter that he had signed an agreement with France for a mixed fleet of H125s, H145s and H225s during the French foreign minister’s visit to Kiev.

The helicopters will fly on new service-response missions, including medical and search and rescue – Mr Avakov wrote on Twitter on Friday. The first four helicopters are expected to be delivered in 2018.

The deal was signed by Mr Avakov and the French minister for European and foreign affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian. Mr Le Drian visited the country to “show support, alongside the EU and the G7, for the reform process in Ukraine”, according to the French ministry website.

The mixed Airbus fleet will be flying on a number of public operations with different government departments — the National Police of Ukraine, the State Emergency Service, Border Security and National Guard.

“The minister of foreign affairs of France and I signed an agreement on the purchase of 55 modern Airbus Helicopters. Together with our Mi-8 Helicopters, The Airbus helicopter order will support the National Police, State Emergencies Service, Border Services and the National Guard,” Avakov wrote on Twitter on Friday.

With France being Ukraine’s biggest foreign employer, Le Drain’s visit to Kiev is aimed to strengthening economic relations with the country – with military intervention from Russia playing out in the background. Le Drian is also planning to pledge Eu 500,000 in humanitarian aid to aid the conflict in Donbass, according to Reuters.

This visit comes at a time when tensions between Europe and Russia are rising following an alleged nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the UK.

This deal follows Airbus’s key role in securing a Qatar defence order for 28 NHI helicopters – a brand owned 62.5% by Airbus. The order will see 16 NH90 TThs and NH90 NFHs placed on land and naval operations.