Afghanistan Mi-35The Afghan government intends to buy Mi-35 attack helicopters from Russia in a bid to boost the capabilities of the Afghan Air Force.

Shakir Kargar, special envoy to President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, said negotiations regarding the purchase of Mi-35 helicopters will begin in the near future.

“We intend to buy Mi-35 helicopters from Russia. This issue is on the agenda. I think we will begin negotiations on that in the nearest future,” Kargar quoted by Interfax said.

Kargar further added that the Afghan government will also buy guns, cartridgess and other munitions from Russia.

He said Afghan armed forces are equipped with Russian weapons, and “some 500 Russian helicopters are flying in the Afghan sky. Therefore, we are buying guns, cartridges and other munitions from Russia.”

The Afghan Air Force received the first six Armed MD-530s last month with the NATO Train, Assist, Advise Command-Air and 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, saying that the armed MD-530s will increase the Afghan Air Force aerial fires capability.

Armed Mi-17s and MD-530s give the Afghan Air Force six times the number of armed aircraft for Fighting Season 2015 as compared to last fighting season, which only employed five Mi-35s.

Pentagon awarded MD Helicopters Inc. a maximum $44.2 million firm-fixed-price contract last year to develop and provide an armament package for the MD-530F helicopters that were already supplied to the Afghan Air Force.

Around 17 of the Afghan Air Force’s MD-530F helicopter will be upgraded under the contract which is expected to be completed early next year.

MD-530F helicopters are designed for high altitude and/or hot weather operations, where thinner air costs helicopters some of their lift.