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BOGOTA, April 19. /TASS/. A Russian helicopter maintenance center, which will be set up in Peru, will help cut the expenses of Latin American countries on maintaining these rotocraft and develop the local industry, the Peruvian Defense Ministry said late on Saturday.
"It [the maintenance center] will become a pole for the development of the aviation industry [of Peru] and a service center that will eventually develop into the infrastructure for joint production," Peruvian Defense Minister Jakke Valakivi said after he personally inspected on Friday the site for the center’s construction.
"The countries of the region, which operate Russian helicopters, will be able to cut the cost and the time of repairs," he added.
The Russian helicopter maintenance center is currently at the stage of designing and is expected to come into operation in 2016.
The center will be located on an area of 500 hectares in the La Joya district in the Arequipa department close to an air base of the Peruvian Air Force.
Apart from their maintenance, Russian helicopters can be eventually assembled by specialists from Russia and Peru.
Moscow has been intensively developing cooperation with Peru lately. In 2011, Russia completed the delivery of six Mil Mi-171Sh combat transport helicopters and two Mi-35P attack helicopters. In 2013, Russia and Peru signed an agreement on the delivery of another 24 Russian Mi-171Sh helicopters to the Peruvian Air Force.
Peru has also Mi-8/17 and Mi-24/35 helicopters. About a hundred Soviet and Russian helicopters have been delivered to the Latin American country since the late 1970s.
The Peruvian army actively uses Russian helicopters for operations against drug barons in hard-to-access terrain, especially in the vast region known as the Apurimak, Ene and Mantaro river valley area where the Maoist guerilla organization Sendero Lumininoso is active.