March 24 (UPI) -- Russian Helicopters, a subsidiary of Russia's state-owned Rostec, is preparing to deliver a second batch of Mi-8 aircraft to Belarus in April.
In a statement announcing the event, the company notes the follow-on delivery was initially slated to take place in May.
"We are glad we will be able to finish the contract on delivering 12 helicopters for the Belarusian Defense Ministry ahead of schedule," Russian Helicopters director general Andrei Boginsky said. "The final lot was initially supposed to be delivered in May 2017, however, the Kazan helicopter factory is ready to send the helicopters on their way in April."
The Belarusian army is set to receive 12 Mi-8MTV-5 military transport helicopters, which are designed for personnel transit and carrying cargo. The aircraft can also be used for search-and-rescue operations and be equipped with weapons.
Typical armaments for the rotorcraft include S-8 rockets, 23mm guns, submachine guns, and other small weapons.
"Belarus has always been and remains an important strategic partner for us," Borginsky added.
News of the early delivery follows a visit to the Kazan helicopter factory by Belarusian defense ministry representatives. The officials went on a tour of the factory, and observed how components and bodies of various military rotorcraft were assembled.