Army buys Mi-17s from Russian exporter

Army buys Mi-17s from Russian exporter

The Defense Department didn’t consider other potential suppliers of helicopters for the Afghan military before buying them from a Russian exporter that Congress has criticized for funneling arms to the regime in Syria, government auditors said.

The U.S. since 2005 has bought about 50 of the Russian-made Mi-17 transport helicopters to help build the Afghan air force, according to an April 1 report from the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. It plans to buy another 30 — in a sale potentially valued at more than $500 million — for a total of 80 aircraft.

The chopper was developed by the former Soviet Union for high-elevation flying in Afghanistan. The Moscow-based manufacturer, Russian Helicopters, makes both civilian and military versions of the aircraft. Another company, Rosoboronexport, the state-owned arms exporter also based in Moscow, sells military variants abroad.

The Defense Department “did not assess alternative means for procuring Mi-17s after verifying that Russia would only sell the helicopters to the United States through Rosoboronexport,” GAO wrote in a report released this week.

U.S. lawmakers have raised concerns that Rosoboronexport is supplying weapons to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. More than 60,000 people have died in the country, mostly civilians, since the uprising against the regime began in 2011, according to a United Nations-funded study from January.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, held up the nomination of the Army’s top acquisition executive until he received a commitment from the Army to consider weapons suppliers outside of Rosoboronexport. He lifted the hold on Heidi Shyu’s nomination in September.

An Army analysis determined that the price paid for the helicopters — about $17.2 million apiece — was reasonable, even though some commercial suppliers offered a slightly better deal, GAO wrote.

“Army officials told us that buying military aircraft directly from Rosoboronexport was less costly than buying a civilian aircraft from a U.S. vendor and then modifying it to a military configuration,” GAO wrote.

The Navy, which previously oversaw the program, originally intended to buy 21 civilian versions of the helicopter from commercial suppliers and add weapons to them for operations in Afghanistan, according to the GAO. The Pentagon in 2010 told the service to cancel the solicitation after Russian officials said they would only sell the helicopters through Rosoboronexport because the aircraft were intended for military use.

The Army also said having access to the helicopter’s original manufacturer will decrease the risk of finding counterfeit parts, a “long-standing problem” with the aircraft due to its prevalence on the world market.

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Are they frigin nuts. First of all why are WE funding the afghan Air Force and secondly why are WE buying Russian mad copters. That is so Obama government. We can’t even pay our debt and we are not taking care of our people so we buy copters for a government that does not even want us there. And says we are colaberating with the Taliban. Who ever dreams this crap up should be fired. The whole Obama regime should be fired. Starting with that idiot.

I wonder how much we’re giving the Afghans to be able to afford operating these helicopters over their lifespan?

Russians helicopters are cheaper to maintain for the Afghans (though probably still too much for them to operate), and they have experience on those types of helicopters.

Now do they need an Air Force? That’s up for debate.

I don’t have a problem with this. Whether we buy these from Rosoboronexport or not will not change the Russian government’s position vis a vis Syria. The Afghans have experience with the Russian helicopters, they are durable and they are cheap. Sounds like an entirely reasonable move to me.

Actually, this started as a G. W. Bush program. They aleady have a bunch he paid for. But the question is, why aren’t the Russians simply giving these helos to the Afghans as their contribution to the war effort? Oh, that’s right. Because the Afghans kicked their tails and they are at least getting some of their money back by taking us to the woodshed. If you want to start firing someone, start with the idiots U.S. Army generals.

BTW, the lesson learned here, is to fight the U.S. in the high desert where American helos can’t operate for very long.

Reasonable to build up an Afghan air force when we are currently seeing our own force taking hits across the board?! This country seems so backwards to me right now. I’m a young man currently in active service and I personally see the outdated crap that our own Air Force must work with, I see guard units furloughing the very people who help maintain this crap, and I see a force that is stretched too far in general.

Enough is enough when it comes to being this great almighty “helper of the weak”. I don’t care what administration thought it would be a good idea to pour money into a middle eastern country’s air force, but certainly the current one could stop such spending.

This country needs to wake up and realize that humanitarian acts are well and good. I support helping the little man, building our allies. But for God’s sake, we must protect ourselves. There is a time to be charitable and there is a time to look out for ourselves. Selfishness is not evil when it comes to a nation’s leaders looking out for their people. That is looking out for your own, the way a leader should.

That is a reasonable point of view, though I think that given the blood and treasure that we have sunk into the mission in Afghanistan, we should do what we can to make it a success. Moreover, I doubt that they choice of whether to buy these helicopters or not will change the budget cuts or the furloughs.

I agree with you in the sense that we’ve put a lot into building this nation up. That in my opinion comes from poor judgement and lack of accountability from a previous regime that is being carried on by another equally incompetent regime. At some point we have to face the fact that we’ve bled ourselves too far.

I had a great post and it got deleted for some reason by an administrator. It was lengthy and I really got into it, but I just don’t feel the passion I felt previously, so I’ll sum up my points.

Anyway, I likened the situation to living in a neighborhood:

I’ll do for my neighbor what I can, but when it comes down to it, my family must eat first. I think that fact is being lost on our leaders as this nation gets stretched to the point where we’re being too generous, and, quite frankly, oblivious. Our leaders, in their political games are like the mothers and fathers, starving their children (american citizens) so as to be looked at as some almighty humanitarian, trying to be desperately liked by the neighbors.

I believe in helping those less fortunate and building up those who want to be built up. I just think we need a leader who will feed their own children before giving it all away to the shady neighbors.

Nevermind the fact that AMERICAN helicopters are very distinquishable and the Afghan people don’t need a constant reminder of our time there after we are gone. I remember serving in Iraq riding around in British Merlins strictly for the fact that the southern populace would get enraged every time they saw a Blackhawk.

You are a moron. Who do we need protection from? Libs? Conservs? Who? No one can best our tech in the world when it comes to military superiority. We out spend the next country by billions and somehow we aren’t safe? Safety is a dulision anyway. Just like TSA in the airports, it solves nothing. Give others crap and keep the good stuff for ourselves. Who cares if the Afgans get old prop planes and even older helos. Sell the JSF outright to everyone and let them deal with that POS. Build more F22s, upgraded M1s, upgraded Brads, and kill off all the rediculous wasteful, unneccessary programs. Melt down most of the MRAPs for scrap. Reduce the nukes down to only 2 times the world vaporizing power. And focus on border patrol or the real threat.…illegals.

I don’t quite understand your point. On the one hand, you suggest that we are spending too much on defense, but the on the other, you say we need more M1s (a project that the Army doesn’t even want, but that was pushed through by Congress), Bradleys and F-22s. Also, what does illegal immigration have to do with the war in Afghanistan? Are you suggesting we need to pull our troops out of there in order to protect the border? Only a fraction of the Army is in Afghanistan.

We could sell them weapons made in America, but we don’t build any weapons here anymore. We’re so f’ing smart, we pay our defense contractors a profit to design weapons, so they don’t need to actually build any to be profitable.

Here we go again, spending (wasting) money we don’t have! What is wrong with our stupid politicians? When will they realize that we cannot afford to keep funneling taxpayer dollars overseas while at the same time, cutting earned benefits from Americans! This has gone on WAY TOO LONG and needs to STOP!

Who cares what those people think? if they don’t like what we’re buying them they should feel free to decline the offer and spend their own money on whatever they want.

Their air force will be destroyed on the ground not long after we leave so none of it really matters. It’s just another waste of money because we refuse to admit that Afghanistan isn’t really a country but is a bunch of tribes forced together when the French and British redrew country borders.

See why we are in debt. Keep building a failed military for the failed state of Afghanistan.

Very well reasoned, well written, good arguments, and I agree completely…
Since Bush SR. refused to enter Baghdad, and take out Saddam Hussein in 1991…
Since bush-puppet, jr. DISBANDED, rather than dis-arm and quarantine to bases the Iraqi Army
in 2003–4…And now “more-of-the-same” Obama…
Spend a few minutes on google/etc., and look up the $Bazillions Salaries of top Defense
Contractor CEO’s, and the PROFITS/ Investor pay-outs…
The U.S. Taxpayer / Citizen is being SCREWED and SOAKED by BOTH political parties, and
TOO MANY Top Brass/DOD/Pentagon are walking in circles through all the high-level
Mil / Civ / Gov revolving doors…
In the Tree of Liberty, the ROT starts at the TOP…
Actually, this program seems one of the more reasonable, for *some* of the reasons *some*
other commenters here have suggested…Please stay informed, involved, and active…
America needs you badly, Sir…
Besides, we might just see more Russian involvement, in new, different ways, in Afghanistan,
as U.S. winds down our footprint there…Keep stepping back to get a bigger, more past, present,
and FUTURE perspective…a too-narrow focus looks angry…

Those people? Wow, people like you that make my military service feel so appreciated. Must be nice to live life with blinders on.

Well we all know what party line you tow.
Would you rather they bought them the Bush era VH-71 at approx 400 million per chopper?

The Pentagon, a building, does not buy anything. It is the people who work there who do. Who was it made this decision, specifically by name and department. No more anonymous attribution to a building !
This is our money being spent, yours and mine. “Your tax dollars at work”.
We are supporting what has been called “the graveyard of empires”.

American helos have been operating there for over 12 years. That’s pretty long.

It is safer for our troop riding on these helis.People always attacks everything American these days.We pretend to be Canadian / Australians when travelling over sea.…

He’s right. If those ungrateful fools don’t want to operate American designs we would be giving them, maybe they should buy what they want with their own money.

Bobby, you should get an MRI on your neck & head. When that bubble full of GOP hate & bile somewhere up there bursts; you’ll probably croak. Have a nice day :-)

So since it appears that the Bushes, who have not been in office for over 5 years, apparently still run everything in our foreign policy there is nothing that can be done? Dude get off the crack pipe.
Also how is the amount of money that private companies pay their CEOs, executives or even their janitors your or mine business? The Congress and senate have the authority to spend. The President only has a limited ability to throw away and waste money. Our current King thinks he has unlimited ability, but that’s a different debate.
The Afghan government has made over $300 billion in the last 7 years just from selling mineral claims to our good friends from China. There is no good reason for any foreign government to be buying equipment for these folks.
One year ago, King Obama signed an agreement to enabling US Force to remain in Afgnistshitland for another 10 years, much longer than our publically stated get out of town date. Why? Because Big Defense was his biggest political donor. Huge battle space/testing grounds without EPA, OSHA and law enforcement.
Too smart to for semper fidelis.

…if for no other reason, than the “crack pipe” personal insult, and, at the risk of being banned from this site…I can only say to you, “sir”,.…go fuck yourself, asshole…goodbye.

Nice reply, resplendent with facts, figures and stirring debate on why your incoherent, rambling post about former administrations and corporations are all the blame for the botched policies of the world’s newest Messiah. I’d tell you to go efff yourself, but as a former marine, you may have had years of practice doing just that. Redlion6, OUT.

Also I feel this is a condition bought on the US government by multiple administrations, not just the Obamanites. That is no good reason for these abuse of the taxpayer to continue. Atleast its not the $122 million that went out last week to encourage abortion in large Mexican cities.

…you say you’re a “former marine”…Redlion6”…???…&Don’t believe in the “newest Messiah”…???…who or what do retired Merchant marine sailors worship…???…
…isn’t “OUT” really Islamist jihadi code for “Original Underground Terrorist”…???…
…the problem with JARHEADS IS, the jar is usually empty, and you gotta go hunt to find them in the head, quickly, before they finish flushing themselves.…U sound more like “REDLAMB” sex, to me.…DUDE, is that ALL you got…???…sheesh.….One of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children grows up and joins the Universal Satanic Marijauna Club…’…
That’s OK, we’re airmobile, kid, we got an Mi-17 MEDEVAC flying in to evacuate you…

Yeah, even if we sent Mexico $500 million, the beaners couldn’t abort themselves as fast as Nixon’s Narcos are slaughtering themselves in the cartels turf battles…70,000 since 2005, is the latest figure I’ve read…
***The Army buys Russian helicopters from “Putin”, for the nascent Afghanistan Air Force, and Dingleberry Fritts here has to spout off about Mexican rape victims destroying evidence…typical distraction tactic, kiddo.…you’re as opaque as glass…

Did you NOT read that these acquisitions began in 2005???? How in the hell is THAT so Obama? That is sooooo bigoted and racist. The whole Dumya regime should be in prison.


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