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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Israel, Russia Team Up For Arms Contract Bid

ANKARA, Turkey -- A newly created Russian-Israeli consortium has joined four Western contenders in bidding for Turkey's $4 billion attack helicopter tender in a surprising last-minute move, a Turkish government official said.

The strange bedfellows are Russia's Kamov and Israeli Aircraft Industries, which will compete in the Turkish deal with a modified version of the Russian company's latest design called Ka-52.

"Kamov, which last year said it would not compete for the deal, apparently changed its mind after silently securing a partnership with IAI, and submitted a joint proposal on Dec. 31, the last day to enter our tender," the official said Saturday.

Turkey last year opened an international tender to select a foreign partner with which it is planning to manufacture 145 attack helicopters for its army.

Another Russian helicopter maker, Rostvertol, builder of the Mi-24 and Mi-28, withdrew from the tender in an obvious move to raise the Kamov group's chances, the official said.

Other contenders in the deal, all Western, include the Franco-German consortium Eurocopter, maker of the Tiger helicopter; Italy's Agusta, maker of the Mangusta; the U.S. group Boeing, maker of the Apache; and the U.S. company Bell Helicopter Textron, maker of the Super Cobra.

The Turkish government is expected to announce the winner in the attack helicopter competition late this year or in early 1999.

A first contract is expected to cover 50 gunships and later the number is to increase to 145.

Production will be carried out at a plant belonging to Turkey's Tusas Aerospace Industries.