20 June 2017

News Report: Russia's Arms Exporter Seeks to Upgrade Afghan Helicopter Fleet

An Afghan Air Force Mi-17 Helicopter (Image: Wiki Commons)
Rosoboronexport, Russia's state arms exports agency, is offering to service and repair Afghanistan's entire Soviet and Russian helicopter fleet of over 200 units, the company's Director General Alexander Mikheev said Monday.

LE BOURGET (Sputnik) — Under the contract between Rosoboronexport and the US Department of Defense signed in 2011, the Russian exporter delivered 63 Mi-17V-5 military helicopters to the Afghan National Army by October 2014.

"We are ready for negotiations and cooperation to repair and modernize the entire fleet of helicopters in Afghanistan, and that is more than 200 helicopters, 63 of which are under the previous contract signed a few years ago," Mikheev said when attending the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget.

He has also informed that the related proposals had been forwarded by Rosoboronexport to Afghanistan and the US partners, who financed the 2011 deal.

In September 2015, Rosoboronexport was targeted by the US sanctions imposed against Russian defense enterprises, preventing it from doing business with US companies and government agencies. However, several months later, the sanctions were eased on maintenance contracts for Mi-17 helicopters in Afghanistan, as well as on acquisition of some digital equipment used by Russia under the Treaty on Open Skies.

In March, the US House of Representatives approved the 2017 fiscal defense bill, prohibiting the Pentagon from entering into financial contracts with Rosoboronexport. Moscow called the bill a 'loss' for the US side, with the company's CEO suggesting as a retaliatory measure to stop selling its RD-180 rocket engines, a no-alternative product for the US military.

This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.