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Russia, Bolivia boost defence co-operation

29 August 2017
The Yak-130 demonstrates shows its underwing hardpoints. Bolivia’s air force has expressed interest in the aircraft to replace its retired Lockheed/Canadair T-33s. Source: Irkut

Bolivia’s Minister of Foreign Relations, Fernando Huanacuni Mamani, has confirmed that the Bolivian Armed Forces is seeking military modernisation with Russian co-operation.

“We have to renovate, and it’s important, because every element and mechanical instrument or weapon has a useful service life. Aircraft, tanks, and weapons … have to be updated,” he said on 27 August.

A Bolivian Ministry of Defence (MoD) delegation, headed by defence vice-minister José Luis Begazo Ampuero, Army Commander General Luis Orlando Ariñez, and a technical team from COFADENA (Corporación de las Fuerzas Armadas para el Desarrollo Nacional) accompanied the foreign ministry on a recent visit to Russia.

During the visit, the Bolivian vice-minister signed an agreement with Russia’s Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation, represented by Anatoli Punchuk, to renew and expand an existing defence co-operation agreement.

The agreement includes technical co-operation in training, equipment maintenance, and technology transfers, and seeks to increase equipment acquisition co-operation.

The Bolivian Army has an ongoing requirement for new armoured transports and combat vehicles for which it has previously considered Russian equipment. It also has a programme to preplace its standard service weapon. Recently the Bolivian Air Force commander recommended buying Yakovlev Yak-130 'Mitten' advanced jet trainer/light-attack aircraft to replace its retired Lockheed/Canadair T-33s.

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