WASHINGTON — The Soviet Union has increased its supplies of assault and gunship helicopters to Nicaragua in recent months and Soviet test pilots and technical advisers have been sent to the Central American country, the Pentagon said today.
Soviet MI-24 Hind D helicopter gunships, similar to the U.S. Army's Cobra, and MI-8 Hip choppers, akin to the U.S. Huey assault craft, have been sent to Nicaragua since 1981.
But Pentagon spokesman Robert Sims and other spokesmen said the total helicopter force in Nicaragua now numbers about 37--about 25 Hips and a dozen Hinds. Sims said 10 crates of Hips were offloaded in Nicaragua in the "last several weeks."
Further, Sims said the Soviets have provided helicopter test pilots and technicians to assemble the choppers "for the first time for the Sandinistas' helicopter fleet."