Mexican President-elect Andres Mannuel Lopez Obrador plans to cancel a $1.36 billion order for 8 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters for the country's Navy. The gunships, intended for use to counter the drug trade, are just too expensive, Obrador says. But are there more affordable alternatives with similar capabilities out there? Sputnik explores.
Speaking to Mexican officials on Wednesday, Obrador announced a national spending "belt-tightening" campaign, saying this was the mandate Mexicans gave authorities in the July 1 election. This, he said, includes military contracts with the United States.
"We know of the order to purchase eight gunships for the Mexican Navy made to the government of the United States for a total value of 25 billion pesos ($1.36 billion). That purchase will be canceled, because we cannot [afford] this expense."
The MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission maritime strike helicopters were approved for sale to Mexico City in April, with the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation-built choppers decked out with advanced radar and night vision equipment, glass cockpit digital monitors, Hellfire missiles, torpedoes and heavy machineguns.
The deal carried a hefty price of $170 million apiece (for comparison, Sikorsky sold the choppers to the US Navy for $42.9 million each in FY2012). In addition to the US, Australia and Denmark also operate the helicopters. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Sputnik website.