Argentina's defence ministry has signed an estimated $30 million contract with Russia's Rosoboronexport arms agency for two Mil Mi-171E transport helicopters.

The new aircraft will be delivered by September 2011 under the 31 August deal, which also covers the provision of training, spare parts and tools.

The Mi-171 order signals a major shift in Argentinian procurement policy, with the Russian Helicopters aircraft expected to replace air force Bell 212s used for Antarctic transport tasks. The new assets are also expected to be tasked with delivering search and rescue services in southern Argentina.

In addition to six Bell 212s, the Argentinian air force also operates 12 MD Helicopters MD500s and two Aerospatiale SA315s, says Flightglobal's HeliCAS database.

Source: Flight International