WASHINGTON, October 30 (RIA Novosti) – Kabul has not asked for more Russian Mi-17 helicopters, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan Chris Belcher told RIA Novosti on Thursday.
Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) has announced on Thursday that the deal between the United States and Russia for the Mi-17 helicopters was completed on October 29.
“The Afghan government has not requested to purchase additional Mi-17s,” Belcher stated. “Today’s final delivery caps a successful program that has supplied Afghan forces with Mi-17s for use by the Afghan Air Force and Special Mission Wing.”
Belcher added that well-equipped and well-trained Afghan air units are crucial for the security and stability of Afghanistan.
“The conclusion of this [delivery] program marks another milestone for the Afghan National Security Forces and ISAF mission, and prepares Afghanistan to conduct a number of contingencies to include humanitarian assistance missions, in addition to their assigned operations,” he concluded.
Russia has delivered sixty three helicopters to Afghanistan since 2001, when Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport and the US Department of Defense signed the contract, according to the FSMTC release.
The delivery of the Russian-made helicopters was a good solution to the task of forming Afghan security forces and is a part of joint efforts of Russia and the United States in the war with the international terrorism, the release said.
FSMTC said it is ready to negotiate future deliveries of Mi-17 to Afghanistan helicopters and provide after-sales support for earlier shipped equipment.
Apart from the helicopter deliveries, Russia also ships spare parts for helicopters tothe Afghan army and trains experts on helicopter maintenance at a training center based at the Novosibirsk Aircraft Repair Plant.