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Iraq takes first delivery of Russian helicopters in $4.3 billion deal

Nov. 8, 2013 at 11:01 AM

BAGHDAD, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Iraq has taken possession of four Russian-made Mi-35 helicopter gunships, officials say.

It's the first delivery of military equipment in a multi-billion-dollar weapons deal between the two countries, RIA Novosti reported Friday.

Iraq expects to receive about 40 Mi-35 and Mi-28NE attack helicopters by the end of the year, said Abbas al-Bayati, a lawmaker with President Nouri al-Maliki's ruling party.

The $4.3 billion agreement also calls for Russia to provide 48 Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft missile gun systems. Russia also will supply Ka-52 single-seat attack helicopters.

Iraq had threatened to cancel the contract earlier this year because of suspicions of corruption.

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