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Egypt to Buy Russian Helicopters for Mistral Warships

A Kamov Ka-50 helicopter

Russia has agreed to sell a group of 50 Kamov Ka-50 attack helicopters to Egypt to serve on board a pair of Mistral warships bought by the Middle Eastern country from France, the TASS news agency reported Wednesday.

The Mistrals were originally built for the Russian navy, but Paris canceled their delivery following Russia's annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in Ukraine last year.

France said on Wednesday it would sell the ships to Egypt, ending months of speculation over their fate.

Russia received a refund of almost 1 billion euros ($1.14 billion) for the ships, but was still left with 50 Ka-52 choppers that were specially adapted for service on the Mistrals. However, an unidentified military source told TASS on Wednesday that Egypt had agreed to buy the helicopters.

"A contract to supply Egypt with 50 Ka-52s was signed," the source said.

Reports that Egypt was after Russia's naval Ka-52 helicopters have been circulating for several months. Most recently, an unidentified source told TASS that Egyptian and Russian officials discussed a possible sale at the MAKS 2015 air show outside Moscow in late August.

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