The Barracks “Pukovnik Marko Živković“ at Pleso on 23 September 2019 hosted a presentation of the overhauled Mi-171Sh helicopters of the Multi-purpose Squadron of the 91st Air Base of the Croatian Air Force.
The presentation was led by the Chief of Staff/Deputy Commander of the Croatian Air Force Brigadier General Michael Križanec. Brig. Gen. Križanec recalled the 28th anniversary of the establishment of the Squadron.
“We are glad to see the overhauled Mi-171 Sh helicopters, which are a valuable asset, ensuring full operational capability and readiness for any task in the upcoming years“. The Minister congratulated the Squadron on its anniversary – 23 September, when the first transport helicopter flew over to the liberated Lučko Airfield, and recalled that the helicopter was the core of the Squadron, which 28 years on was equipped with 24 helicopters. We are today remebering them“, said the Minister.
The overhauled helicopters have been employed for daily operations and tasks, which speaks of the quality of the executed overhaul.
The Minister commended the well-executed overhaul and their reintroduction into the operational use in the Squadron.
The Minister added that the helicopters of the Croatian Air Force have performed ca 1,714 medical flights, transporting 670 patients and conducting search and rescue as before the overhaul (namely the participation in international operations, the assistance to the civilian community within the homeland security system, including search and rescue on land and at sea, emergency medical transport, firefighting etc.
“The overhaul has engaged the capacities of the Aeronautical Technical Centre and upgraded the capacity and range of technical maintenance of the Mi-171 Sh helicopters,” concluded the Minister.
“The Croatian Air Force’s capability of operating in international environments is highly important, but its availability and reliability is even more important for the citizens“, said General Mirko Šundov, and also noted that Croatia was making efforts to modernise and equip the Croatian Armed Forces, regardless of the challenging economic situation.
The Commander of the Croatian Air Force Brigadier General Mato Mikić said: “The Croatian Air Force disposes with a complete fleet of Mi-171 Sh helicopters , the full flying resource and is ready to perform any duty, at home and abroad“.
The Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Croatia H. E. Anvar Azimov expressed the Russian side’s openness for co-operation and assistance with future projects.
„We fully approve the overhaul; the helicopter are fully operational and used in support to all tasks assigned by the Croatian Armed Forces and in support to assistance to civilian institutions“, said Commander of the Multi-purpose Helicopter Squadron Major Dubravko Radić, following a demo flight.
Flying technician was Sergeant Goran Bezuk, son of the late Col. Vladimir Bezuk, the officer who repaired the first transport Mi-8 for an overflight, alongside the late Ivan Kolenković on 23 September 1991. .
„It was a pleasure for me to fly the helicopter, I am looking forward to the next flight“said Sergeant Bezuk.
The Ministry of Defence signed a 207 mil HRK-worth contract (VAT included ) for the overhaul of ten MI-171Sh helicopters with the Aeronautical Technical Center in 2017.
The Aeronautical Technical Centre’s foreign partner was “Russian Helicopters“ from the Russian Federation, providing the necessary technical support.
The overhaul project involves ten successfully repaired Mi-171Sh helicopters, which retained all required capabilities and are operational and used to conduct tasks.
The contracted and executed overhaul of the helicopters comprised all systems of the multi-purpose model, whereby the helicopters retained all previous capabilities.
The helicopters are employed in humanitarian operations and in assistance to civilian institutions through search-and-rescue, emergency medical flights, transport of organs for transplants firefigthing and in NATO-led KFOR (two overhauled helicopters in deployment since August 2019).
The contract for the overhaul of ten MI-171Sh helicopters worth HRK 206,943,143.20, including VAT, was signed in 2017 with the Aeronautical Technical Centre, whose
foreign partner was “Russian Helicopters“ from the Russian Federation.
The ten successfully overhauled Croatian Air Force’s Mi-171Sh helicopters that have been successfully overhauled, with all required capabilities and delivered to the Squadron, which uses them in daily conduct of tasks.
The Mi-171Sh helicopters were contracted and overhauled by all systems of the Mi-171Sh multi-purpose helicopter system, so that the helicopters retained all the capabilities they had before the overhaul. The helicopters are used for humanitarian assistance to civilian institutions (search-and-rescue operations, emergency medical flights, transport of organs for transplants, firefighting and in NATO’s Operation KFOR in Kosovo – two overhauled helicopters have been engaged in KFOR since August 2019).
Photo © Marko Kovačićek (ZAG/23.09.2019.