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TALLINN - Estonian Air Force is to get two transport aircraft M-28 as a present from the United States and the aircraft is to arrive in Estonia next year.
The Estonian Center for Defense Investments signed an agreement between the U.S. government and the Estonian governments, according to which Estonia is to get two transport aircraft of the EDA program, a press officer for the center said.
It is a transaction between governments, with which Estonia will get two transport aircraft M-28/C-145 worth a total of six million U.S. dollars as a present if Estonia covers the costs needed for them to conform to European flight safety regulations as well as transport costs.
The aircraft were made in Poland in 2009 and have been preserved until now. The aircraft are in a good technical condition and at present they are being checked. The planes are to arrive in Estonia next year, the press officer said.
The aircraft are to replace the An-2 transport aircraft currently used in the Estonian Air Force.
The defense forces announced at the end of 2014 that the Air Force was going to put into service in 2015 two light military transport aircraft Sherpa C-23B+ to be purchased from the United States, which would replace the Antonov An-2 planes used by the Air Force at that time.
Spokespeople for the Air Force told BNS in July 2015 that the sale and purchase agreement was planned to be signed "within a couple of weeks" and the planes were expected to be delivered in 2016.
The plan was abandoned later on the grounds that although the purchase price of the aircraft would have been symbolic, an analysis showed the planes would have been too expensive to maintain.
The M-28 needs a shorter runway to take off than the Sherpa, therefore the aircraft is able to land on Estonia's small airfields. In addition, the M-28 is still manufactured today, unlike the Sherpa the production of which was discontinued 25 years ago, which means that its spare parts are available and its maintenance is therefore cheaper.
The Estonian Air Force uses light transport planes for training, observation flights, medical evacuation flights, airborne landing transport and other transport flights in Estonia as well as abroad.