Pentagon Wants to Replace Russian Helicopters in Afghanistan

© Photo : wikipedia / USArmy.milAfghan Mi-17
Afghan Mi-17 - Sputnik International
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CENTCOM commander Gen. Joseph Votel said that the US government was working on a plan to replace Afghanistan’s Russian-made fleet of Mi-17 transport helicopters.

Afghan soldiers prepare to unload a helicopter from a cargo aircraft at Kabul military airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013 - Sputnik International
Afghanistan Hopes Russia to Open Helicopter Repair Workshop in Country Soon
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US government is working on a plan to replace Afghanistan’s Russian-made fleet of Mi-17 transport helicopters, US Central Command (CENTCOM) commander Gen. Joseph Votel told Congress on Thursday.

"Going forward, transitioning from Russian to US airframes will ensure Afghan forces have a more sustainable fleet that is interoperable with US forces and will enhance the Afghans’ ability to operate independently of coalition forces," Votel stated in written testimony.

Votel explained the current fleet was undersized and more expensive than the Afghan forces originally anticipated.

The US Defense Department has requested $814.5 million for fiscal year 2017 to replace the Afghan fleet, he added.

The plan includes 53 UH-60 helicopters, 30 armed MD-530F helicopters, six A-29 attack aircraft and five AC-208s.

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