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    Russia supplies new Mi-17 helicopters to Iraq

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    The first batch of Russian Mi-17 Hip multi-purpose helicopters has been commissioned by the Iraqi army, an Iraqi newspaper said Sunday.

    BEIRUT, June 24 9RIA Novosti) - The first batch of Russian Mi-17 Hip multi-purpose helicopters has been commissioned by the Iraqi army, an Iraqi newspaper said Sunday.

    Iraqi Defense Minister Abdel Qadar Jassim ai-Ubeidi inspected Saturday the aircraft at an air base near Baghdad, the Al Mada daily said, citing military sources.

    The paper did not reveal the number of supplied aircraft, but some earlier reports indicated that 28 new Mi-17 helicopters had been ordered in a new contract replacing the previous contracts for 24 second-hand and 10 new helicopters.

    The Iraqi minister said in March 2007 that the Iraqi Air Force should have between 50 and 60 helicopters in service by the end of 2007.

    The Mi-17 is an improved version of the Mi-8 helicopter, also known as the Mi-8TMB. It is specifically designed for improved capabilities at high altitudes and in hot weather conditions.

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