A traditional aircraft customer from the former Soviet Union, Peru has a wide range of Russian and Ukrainian models in its military forces. But that number could be higher if the three Mi-26 helicopters purchased from Aeroflot in 1995, were operating.
Largest helicopter in production in the world, the “Halo”, as it was called by NATO, is the successor of another massive aircraft, the Mi-6, and is capable of taking off with 56 tons, second only to the Mil V-12, the record holder in terms of rotating wings, but that has not passed the testing phase.
The Peruvian Army decided to acquire the Mi-26 for $10 million to serve in the transport of heavy cargo and passengers and also in support of mining and oil exploration, but its useful life was short.
The first, the EP-707, stopped flying in 1997 and is now in the city of Iquitos. The Mi-26 EP-705 registration was leased to the UN and was retired in 2003 while the EP-706 would have stopped flying in 2008. Since then, the two have been dismantled in the military area at Jorge Chavez Airport, in Lima, capital of the country.
According to a resolution published by the Peruvian Ministry of Defense, what remains of the three helicopters will be sold as replacement parts, with the exception of the engines, APU and rotor transmissions, which are no longer recoverable. The justification for not recovering the aircraft was that a large investment would be necessary, since even the fuselage presents internal and external deterioration. The Mi-26Ts were used by the 811 Assault and Transport Battalion while in flight condition.
Peru bought many armaments from the Soviets and to this day operates a large number of aircraft, including the MiG-29 fighter jet, the Su-25 attack plane, the An-32 transport plane and dozens helicopters Mi-8, Mi-17 and Mi-24.
Interestingly, the Mi-26 is still in production, now under the responsibility of the company Rostvertol, which offers it on the market as an aircraft of unusual capacity. The massive helicopter has already performed impressive missions such as rescuing a Boeing CH-47 Chinook in Afghanistan, hoisting a Tu-134 airliner and recovering a 23,000-year-old mammoth that was frozen in Siberia.