US cancels purchase of Russian helicopters for Afghanistan
By Ghanizada - Thu Nov 14, 12:13 pm
A top US senator, John Cornyn in a statement on Wednesday said applauded the decision by the US defenses department to cancel the purchase of 15 additional helicopters from Rosoboronexport.
A spokesperson for the Pentagon has also confirmed that there are no plans to purchase additional helicopters from the state-run Russian arms exporter beyond the previous orders.
The additional 15 Russian-built Mi-17 helicopters were to be purchased next year at a cost of $345 million and then delivered to Afghanistan’s national security forces.
However, the deal was cancelled amid growing pressures from federal lawmakers over Russian arms deliveries to Syria.
The purchase of additional Mi-17 helicopters were part of Pentagon’s plan to purchase 63 new Mi-17s from Rosoboronexport for nearly $1.1 billion, defense officials told Congress in August.
Cornyn and other members of Congress also argued the Defense Department should have more seriously considered acquiring an American-made helicopter for the Afghans.
The U.S. Army’s Chinook, manufactured by defense giant Boeing in Pennsylvania, and a transport helicopter made by Sikorsky in Connecticut, were among the possible options.