Venezuela looks to China; Bolivia looks to Iran

 - December 3, 2010, 7:07 AM
Venezuela is seeking the Y-8 to augment its C-130 transport fleet, which comprises C-130H and C-130H-3s.

Venezuela is buying up to 12 Shaanxi Y-8 transports from China. The order is part of a series of agreements between the two nations that has already seen 18 Hongdu K-8W jet trainers acquired for the air force, the first of which was delivered in March. The four-engine Y-8 is in widespread Chinese service, and was originally created as a reverse-engineered version of the Antonov An-12 Cub. It has subsequently been developed with both Russian and Western assistance, and also forms the platform for several special-mission aircraft. Venezuela currently operates a fleet of C-130H transports.

In October, during a visit to Teheran by President Evo Morales, Bolivia announced that it had signed an agreement to purchase a package of training and transport aircraft from Iran. If this goes ahead, it would mark Iran’s first success in the export market for its growing aviation industry. Bolivia’s interest is focused on the Fajr F.3, a four-seat composite light trainer that appears to be a modified copy of the Cirrus SR20; the S-68, a copy of the Pilatus PC-7; the HESA Iran-140, a license-built An-140 transport with 52 seats; and an unspecified four-seat helicopter, probably one of several unlicensed modified designs based on the Bell 206.