Pentagon to Buy Russian Mi-17 Helicopters Despite Ban

Afghan MI-17 helicoptersThe Department of Defense (DOD) has notified Congress of its intent to contract with Rosoboronexport for 30 additional Mi-17 rotary-wing aircraft to support the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF) Special Mission Wing.

The contract totals $690 million.

The Pentagon decided to keep buying from Rosoboronexport after the U.S. Army canvassed other helicopter makers and failed to find an alternative that would meet the Afghan military’s requirements, Carter said. Afghan personnel have flown the MI-17 since the 1980s and are deeply familiar with their operation, Pentagon officials have said previously.

“Careful consideration of all the information available to the department” after the Army evaluation “confirms it would be in the public interest to procure the MI-17s needed” from the Russian firm,  US Deputy Defense Secretary Carter wrote.