Venezuela will allocate $480 million to upgrade its Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jets, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said.
Last month, Maduro announced that Venezuela would purchase at least 12 Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia.
“The president [Nicolas Maduro] just authorized [the payment] of $480 million so that the service life of our Sukhoi planes… so they could continue to fulfill or give protection to the Venezuelan airspace,” the minister said on Thursday.
Russia’s military cooperation with Latin American nations, including Venezuela, started to take off in 2014 with deals on high-tech arms sales and the construction of naval facilities.
Venezuela is expected to become the second largest importer of Russian weapons and military equipment between 2012 and 2015, with purchasing contracts worth $3.2 billion, according to the Center for Analysis of World Arms Trade.