Cuba Buys Successors to Russian Missiles That Downed Brothers to the Rescue Planes

Misil Vympel R-73E
Russian Missile Vympel-R-73E

In 2015, Cuba will have modern air-to-air missiles acquired from Russia, according to the state-operated Russian Agency of International Information. The island’s government will receive a consignment of VYMPEL R-73Es, which will add to the missiles already imported in recent years, said Yuri Klinshin, president of the Duks company.

The note added that the missile is highly maneuverable and can reach a top speed of 1,500 miles/hour, and a maximum height of 18.6 miles. Other countries that have already bought these arms include Vietnam, Angola, Venezuela, Uruguay and Indonesia, among others.

The Vympel R-73E is the successor to the R-60MK, which the USSR gave to Cuba and which was used by the Cuban Air Force to shoot down two civilian Cessnas belonging to Brothers to the Rescue on February 24, 1996. The attack cost the lives of four crew members and provoked a strong reaction from the Cuban exile community. The scandal led President Bill Clinton to sign the Helms Burton Act.

Twenty years later, in the midst of a fragile and tortuous process of normalization of relations between the US and Cuba, this new purchase of Russian rockets is disclosed.

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