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US Military is Buying Russian Helicopters
What is better than the modern US transport heliocpter? A Russian Mi-17 built over 35 years ago. Much of 800 million dollars procured by the US Dept. of Defense (and more) is being spent on purchasing these old Russian choppers, long obsolete from a Russian arm's dealer at a cool $12,000,000 each. No joke.
The Mi-17 is old, reliable and easy for the Afghans, Iraqis and Pakistani troops to work on and obtain parts for. Sort of like a 65 Chevy Corvair, over 1.2 million made from 1960-69, over 100,000 of the air-cooled car are still on the road because numerous places still make the parts! The Mi-17 is a Soviet era chopper used basically for transport, like a US CH-47. They are like a VW of choppers-cheap and easy to work on but also, all three of the countries have Soviet equipment left over from 30 years ago when the bulk of their military equipment came from Russia.
So far, 31 have been bought for the new Afghan army with more coming. Some 60 for the Pakistani Army and 40 for Iraq. The American equivilent are simply too complex and training is too time consuming, not to mention, the American version is much more expensive. So, buying the older Soviet chopper is simply getting more for your money and they still make them!