Russian Helicopters has completed the delivery of Mil Mi-17V-5 military-transport helicopters to the Afghan National Army (ANA).
A total of 63 Mi-17V-5 helicopters were manufactured at Kazan Helicopters and delivered as part of a contract signed between Russian state-arm exporter Rosoboronexport and the US Department of Defense in 2011.
Signed in May 2011, the original $900m agreement covered the supply of 21 helicopters, along with spare parts, specialists training and maintenance, as reported by Russia Beyond the Headlines.
The US exercised a contract option in 2012 to order an additional twelve Mi-17V-5 helicopters at an estimated cost of $171.4m.
In 2013, the two sides also signed a new $554m contract for the delivery of 30 more helicopters to the Afghan military to combat international terrorism.
The helicopters are expected to enhance the ANA’s capabilities for conducting urban warfare and special unit operations against Taliban insurgents.
An export variant of the Mi-8 Hip helicopter, the Mi-17V-5 is powered by two upgraded TV3-117BM turboshaft engines and is armed with ten large-calibre machine guns, four outboard cassettes with 20 unguided missiles, advanced multifunction cockpit displays and night vision goggles.
The avionics set includes radio and flight navigation equipment for rapid troop airlift and air-fire support missions during day, night and adverse weather conditions, as well as de-icing equipment.
Capable of transporting up to 36 passengers or 4t of cargo, it features a loading ramp instead of clam-shell doors, an additional door and a new dolphin nose.
According to the company, the helicopters have performed well in the challenging climate and mountainous areas of Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the Russian Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) has confirmed that it is ready to discuss potential future supplies of Mi-type helicopters, and also to provide maintenance and after-sales servicing for previously delivered helicopters.
Image: An Afghan National Army Mi-17V-5 helicopter in flight. Photo: courtesy of Russian Helicopters, JSC.