They look like Aérospatiale (Airbus Helicopters) Dauphins, but in fact they are the Chinese licence-built copy of it. Six of these Harbin Z-9s, in the new H425 personnel transport version, have made it to the Cochabamba region of Bolivia mid July. The arrival of choppers ordered in 2011 was confirmed by the Bolivian Ministry of Defence.
According to Airheadsfly.com sources the six H425s will be based at the Chapacura Bolivan Army airfield of Chimore, 75 miles (120 km) northeast of Jorge Wilderman IAP that services the regional capital of Cochabamba. Chapacura has been run down a bit, but a new hangar is said to have been erected there to accommodate the new Harbins.
All Bolivian Army helicopters fly with Compañía de Aviacion del Ejército No. 1 (CAE-1), with the Harbins serving within Grupo de Caballeria Aérea I which also has a Robinson R44 light/training helicopter since 2013. The Army’s CAE-1 also has a flight made up by the Beech C90 and Fokker F27-200 at the Bolivian capital of La Paz.
Bolivia is slowly modernising its armed forces, with Airbus Helicopters engaged in supplying six Super Pumas and four EC145s.
© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger