One of the jinxed Kamovs following an accident. Photo: Paulo Cunha/ Lusa

Portugal’s catastrophic Kamovs: latest bill for repairs comes to €20 million

The dismal story of Portugal’s purchase of six clapped out Russian ‘heavy duty’ helicopters to ‘lead the nation’s firefighting fleet’ has moved into practically surreal new territory: the ministries of defence and internal administration have transferred management of the six craft to the Air Force. Explain reports, five of the ancient choppers need an investment of “at least €4 million each, a total of €20 million… One of the helicopters has already been pronounced ‘almost irreparable’; the others, after repairs, will be used for missions of a military nature, or in military support for civilian emergencies”. The Kamovs were purchased in 2006 for over €42 million in a deal with Russia sealed during the notorious government of José Sócrates.