Sunday, 29/05/2011 8:05 pm
Russian arms export company Rosoboronexport has signed an agreement worth 300 million dollar contract with the Defense Department to supply 21 units of helicopter Mil Mi-17 multirole to Afghanistan for use in the US-led military operations.
“This is the first major contract signed with Russia that the U.S. Defense Department,” said Sergei Prikhodko, an aide to the foreign policy Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, RIA Novosti news agency reported on Saturday, yesterday (28 / 5).
He added that the deal was decided during the G-8 summit in Deauville, France, which ended Saturday.
“This contract marks a major step in a more practical cooperation ties between Russia and the United States to increase the combat capability troops in Afghanistan,” said Prikhodko.
Shipping helicopters will begin this October and will be completed until 2012. Outside of the purchase of helicopters, the contract also includes delivery of spare parts, support equipment, and maintenance support.
The contract comes along with the United States and Russia have held talks for more than a year on a deal to provide much-needed helicopters for the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, observers argue that despite claims that the aircraft purchased for the Afghan army, is highly unlikely that Afghan forces would really have control or access to a helicopter that was purchased. Mil Mi-17 is a two-turbine transport helicopter. This is the export version of the Mil Mi-8 helicopter and can carry up to 37 individuals.
Russian-made aircraft currently in production at two factories in Kazan, capital of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan, and Ulan-Ude, capital of the Russian Republic of Buryatia. (Fq / prtv)