New Market for Chinese Z-9 Helicopters in Bolivia

Bolivia has become the 11th nation to purchase Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation's Z-9 helicopters from China, Beijing's China Youth Daily reported on Dec. 18.

Since its first sale in 1981, Z-9 helicopters have been exported to 10 countries including Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, Laos, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, Pakistan, Venezuela and Zambia. The Bolivian Army Air Service made its decision to purchase six H-425s, the upgraded version of the H-9, from China three months ago. Under this program, China is also responsible for training 12 pilots and 38 ground crew members for the Bolivian Army.

In addition to the H-425 helicopter, China also provided a flight simulator to the Bolivian government. The H-425s will be used to conduct transport and supply missions, as well as reconnaissance, medical evacuation, humanitarian aid missions, anti-trafficking, and firefighting operations. The H-425 is not the only Chinese aircraft Bolivia has purchased in recent years. Bolivia currently has two MA60 passenger aircraft designed by Xi'an Aircraft Industrial Corporation in service.
China is currently trying to expand its military aircraft market into the United States' backyard through exporting K-8Es and H-425s to Bolivia. The country has not hear any protest from the US about it, nor has France said anything about the sale of the Z-9s, despite the fact that the helicopter was based on France's Eurocopter's AS365 Dauphin. Hongdu Aviation Industry Group's Z-8 helicopter was also developed off the blueprint of the French-built Super Frelons.

Back in 2009, Bolivia bought six K-8E trainers for its air force.

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