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ILA 2022: War in Ukraine driving Eastern European interest in contractor-supplied helicopters

IDA Group displayed one of its Black Hawk helicopters at the ILA 2022 event in Berlin. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

The ongoing war in Ukraine is driving Eastern European interest in acquiring contractor-supplied light attack and transport helicopters, a provider told Janes on 23 June.

Speaking at the ILA Air Show in Berlin, Lukas Hollnsteiner, International Defense and Aerospace Group (IDAG) director of sales, said that with many Eastern European countries operating Warsaw Pact-era helicopters, hostilities between Ukraine and Russia mean that it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain these helicopters in an airworthy condition.

“Ukraine has certainly changed things, with the Mi-8 and Mi-17 types flown across Eastern Europe being in limbo [in terms of their sustainment and support],” Hollnsteiner said.

Based in Titusville in the US, Budapest in Hungary, Prague in the Czech Republic, and Košice in Slovakia, IDAG is the exclusive supplier to Eastern Europe of the MD Helicopters Inc (MDHI) MD 530F light helicopter, and also provides surplus US Army UH-60 Black Hawks.

Having provided civil variant MD 530s into the region, Hollnsteiner said that IDAG has also registered growing interest from potential military customers. Hollnsteiner noted that IDAG has three MD 530s at its partner Košice facility, while aircraft originally earmarked for the former Afghan Air Force that are now in storage in the US could also be made available. IDAG is able to provide complete support, including the training of pilots and mechanics, and the delivery of spares via its European Union Aviation Safety Agency-approved maintenance facility.

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