Hungary has bought three additional Mil Mi-8T 'Hip-C' helicopters to fulfil an interim need, the Hungarian Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed on 3 April.
Although not disclosed by the MoD, sources told IHS Jane's that the aircraft are being supplied by Russia through a Hungarian intermediary.
The second-hand and overhauled aircraft cost HUF2 billion (USD9 million), the MoD stated. The helicopters have already been transferred to Hungary's Kecskemet Air Base.
Delays to the country's HUF105 billion helicopter procurement programme have necessitated the move in order to maintain the Hungarian Air Force's fleet of a dozen Mi-8/Mi-17 'Hip' helicopters. A tender for the USD469 million helicopter programme was intended to be launched before Hungary's 6 April general election, but the tender has now been postponed. Although the reasons for this are undisclosed, they are understood to be related to ensuring the tender processes comply with EU regulations.
Towards the end of 2013 Hungary signed a contract with Russia's Rosoboronprom for the maintenance of the country's existing 'Hip' fleet in order to provide a smooth transition until the new procurement programme is completed. The implementation of the contract is understood to have run into issues, with the MoD opting to accept an offer by the Hungarian intermediary for the swift delivery of three additional aircraft to maintain the country's operational inventory.
The three Mi-8Ts, said to be in good condition, will be tasked by the MoD with emergency response and search-and-rescue roles.