ALGIERS, Algeria, April 11 (UPI) -- Military leaders in Algeria are dramatically escalating their planned buy of Russian-built Mi-28NE attack helicopters, more than quadrupling the number of aircraft in the initial deal.
Algiers is now planning to buy 42 Night Hunter helicopters, up from the eight aircraft military leaders had planned to purchase earlier this year. Russian media outlets also reported that Iraq had placed an order for 19 attack helicopters, with other foreign forces looking to add the helicopter to their fleets.
"[Countries] in Latin America, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Bahrain, Iran, Egypt, Algeria and also countries in sub-Saharan Africa which are negotiating for the acquisition of the Mi-28NE," an unnamed source at the Russian Defense Ministry's International Cooperation Department reportedly told Russian media outlets.
Built by Russian defense firm Rostvertol, the attack helicopter is designed to take out ground targets such as tanks and patrol boats. The multi-mission helicopter can also engage smaller, low-altitude aircraft.
The Russian military version of the helicopter, the Mil Mi-28N, has seen heavy action in Syria as part of Moscow's air campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.