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Pentagon to Buy Russian Helicopters Despite Ban
RIANOVISTA ^ | 4/4/2013 | Maria Young

Posted on 04/06/2013 3:52:53 AM PDT by autumnraine

WASHINGTON, April 4 (By Maria Young for RIA Novosti) – The US Department of Defense said Thursday it plans to sidestep a Congressional ban to purchase 30 helicopters from Russian state-owned defense firm Rosoboronexport, despite objections from US lawmakers who allege that the firm has equipped the Syrian government to commit brutal crimes against civilians.

“The Department of Defense (DOD) has notified Congress of its intent to contract with Rosoboronexport for 30 additional Mi-17 rotary-wing aircraft to support the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF) Special Mission Wing,” Pentagon spokesman James Gregory told RIA Novosti in emailed comments.

The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, approved by Congress last year, includes an amendment that prohibits financial contracts between the United States and Rosoboronexport, except when the Secretary of Defense determines that such arrangements are in the interest of national security.

“Given current timelines, the department has determined that Rosoboronexport is the only viable means of meeting ANSF requirements” for the helicopters, Gregory said.

The contract totals $690 million, most of which would go to the Russian arms maker, he added.

In February, US President Barack Obama announced plans to reduce the number of US troops in Afghanistan from 66,000 to 34,000 over the next year, leaving Afghan forces with an increased role in their nation’s security.

Many of the Afghan forces have already been trained to operate the Russian aircraft. Switching to a new platform would delay the readiness of their rotary wing division by at least three years while crews get training and experience on a new system, Gregory said.

A bipartisan Congressional group wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week in which they objected to the ongoing business relationship between the Russian arms company and the Pentagon.

“What is the national security justification of continuing business with Rosoboronexport?” they asked in the letter.

“Russia continues to transfer weapons through Rosoboronexport to the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria,” they continued. “Since the Syrian uprising began, Russia has continued to serve as the Assad regime’s chief supplier of weapons, enabling the mass murder of Syrian citizens at the hands of their own government.”

Russia, however, has insisted that the deliveries are legal under international law and that it is not supplying Syria with offensive weapons. Moscow has also questioned the composition and goals of the various armed groups fighting the Assad regime.

US Rep. Jim Moran, who co-authored the amendment, said Rosoboronexport had supplied nearly $1 billion in arms to Assad’s government between 2011 and 2012, including high-explosive mortars, sniper rifles, ammunition and refurbished attack helicopters.

Public records show that some of the representatives who signed the letter and sponsored the amendment–including Moran, Rep. Kay Granger and Rep. Rosa DeLauro—have received campaign contributions from US defense contractors.

But Moran’s spokeswoman, Anne Hughes, described any implication that the lawmakers’ concern is more about campaign contributions than arms for Syria as “laughable.” Representatives of the other lawmakers did not respond to requests for comment.

“The objections are understandable, the US defense industry needs contracts. … But from a cost-benefit analysis, Russian helicopters are a better deal,” Simon Saradzhyan, a security expert at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, told RIA Novosti on Thursday.

The Russian helicopters, he said, are generally not as sophisticated or advanced as those made in the United States, making them arguably more suitable for use by Afghan security forces.

“This is the Russian competitive edge,” Saradzhyan said. “They cost less and they are easy to maintain. This is how Russian arms supporters make their sales speech.”

The Russian aircraft “are superbly suited for harsh environments,” said Gregory, the Pentagon spokesman.

In their letter to Hagel, the lawmakers asked what steps the Pentagon had taken to consider alternative helicopter suppliers. They also requested that the department prepare a detailed briefing and present it to Congress before taking any action on the pending contract.

Hagel has received the letter, Gregory said.

“He will of course respond.”

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Russia
KEYWORDS: hip; mi17
Why are we paying these people? They are obviously useless and we have lost a branch. Let me guess, someone will say something about it. And that will be about it.
1 posted on 04/06/2013 3:52:53 AM PDT by autumnraine
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To: autumnraine

I want to buy a gun from my enemy in hopes that it will work in the event that I may have to use it against him. Mental illness, deliberate treasonous bastards or both

2 posted on 04/06/2013 3:56:43 AM PDT by ronnie raygun
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To: autumnraine


And some say this guy was the better of the two options we had last election.

3 posted on 04/06/2013 3:58:10 AM PDT by driftdiver (I could eat it raw, but why do that when I have a fire.)
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To: autumnraine

Congress means nothing. Good to have that confirmed.

4 posted on 04/06/2013 3:59:39 AM PDT by Hardraade ( (Vendetta))
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To: autumnraine
And they wonder why there are so few jobs in the USA? The USA buying Russian helicopters? Insanity run amok. That's what happens when the RATS are in power, supported by spineless/gutless Pubbie political hacks.
5 posted on 04/06/2013 4:06:17 AM PDT by kenmcg (scapegoat)
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6 posted on 04/06/2013 4:06:26 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro can't pass E-verify)
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To: autumnraine

If any of you doubt it...we a BANANA REPUBLIC.

7 posted on 04/06/2013 4:11:16 AM PDT by Ann Archy (Abortion.....the HUMAN Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: autumnraine

My take on this is we shouldn’t buy the Russian helicopters because they are supplying weapons to Assad, while we are supplying weapons to the Rebels.

If the Russian helicopters will get our men out of Afghanistan any faster buy them.

Of course the argument that the Congress mans nothing is a legitimate argument. The Congress today is made up of thieves and suck butts.They are there merely for show and to take their share of the pork money that keeps them there.

8 posted on 04/06/2013 4:21:56 AM PDT by Venturer
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To: driftdiver

Dumb bunch of a-holes, weren’t they?

9 posted on 04/06/2013 4:22:26 AM PDT by carriage_hill (The most insidious power the news media has, is the power to ignore.)
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To: autumnraine

“WE THE PEOPLE” no longer means jack squat!

10 posted on 04/06/2013 5:05:05 AM PDT by Coldwater Creek (He who dwells in thee shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadows of the Almighty Psalm 91:)
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To: autumnraine

prosecute whoever willingly violates the law prohibiting such purchase

11 posted on 04/06/2013 5:09:24 AM PDT by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-hereQaeda" and its allies.)
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To: Ann Archy

“The US Department of Defense said Thursday it plans to sidestep a Congressional ban....”

You gotta’ wonder how this is even possible - Zero “side-steps” Congress A LOT - and there is no recourse?

Will we even make it to 2016?

12 posted on 04/06/2013 5:10:53 AM PDT by Psalm 73 ("Gentlemen, you can't fight in here - this is the War Room".)
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To: autumnraine

Sheesh don’t any of these idiots know that the lifespan of Russian helicopters is measured in hundreds of flight hours not thousands

13 posted on 04/06/2013 5:13:35 AM PDT by usmcobra (Happiness is a belt fed weapon.)
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To: autumnraine
Six Hundred Ninety Million Dollars for 30 helicopters to afghanistan.......

If this government, and I use that term loosely, is just going to piss money down a rat hole, why can't it be my rat hole?

14 posted on 04/06/2013 5:20:39 AM PDT by Kakaze (I want The Republic back !)
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To: autumnraine

Are we really that stupid—or is it worse than mere stupidity?

15 posted on 04/06/2013 5:24:17 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: Venturer

So America doesn’t make helicopters anymore?

DeLauro asks Pentagon about Russian helicopter deal

WASHINGTON — It’s not easy to find an issue that can leave both Connecticut Democrat Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn equally outraged.

But the Pentagon paying $17 million apiece for a fleet of Russian helicopters certainly does the trick.

The Defense Department wants to spend taxpayers’ money to buy 30 more Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters to give to the Afghan army, through what is effectively a no-bid contract that blocks competing bids from such American helicopter manufacturers as Sikorsky, Bell and Boeing.

Stratford-based Sikorsky, which makes the comparable S-61 craft, has strongly advocated to the U.S. government “that U.S. aircraft manufacturers are more than capable of delivering affordable and reliable helicopters for the Afghan mission.” In a statement, Sikorsky said: “Given the opportunity, we would like to compete.” The S-61 is a cargo and passenger craft widely used around the world by governments and private firms.

But the Pentagon has narrowed its Afghanistan proposal in a way that eliminates American helicopters.

After Cornyn complained that the Pentagon hadn’t opened up the helicopter acquisition program to other bidders, Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s acquisition chief, said the Defense Department would ask U.S. firms about “their ability to provide airworthy, armed Mi-17 aircraft for use by the Afghan military.”

Because no U.S. firms make the Mi-17, the Kendall letter amounted to a blunt rebuff to Congress and the U.S. helicopter industry.

To date, the Pentagon has bought about 70 of the Russian-made Mi-17s for the Afghan military. The new Pentagon plan to buy 30 more has riled some members of Congress who are asking Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel for an explanation.

The lawmakers also are irked that the Mi-17 helicopters would be supplied to Afghanistan by Russian official state arms broker Rosoboronexport, the same firm that furnishes weapons to embattled Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad.

Led by DeLauro, 10 House members have written Hagel to suggest that the Pentagon’s purchase would be a violation of the National Defense Authorization Act that Congress and President Barack Obama enacted last year. The act included a provision sponsored by DeLauro and Cornyn specifically barring any Pentagon dealings with Rosoboronoexport, though the measure allows the secretary of defense to waive that provision if such a waiver was “in the national security interests of the United States with respect to the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces.”

Read more:

16 posted on 04/06/2013 5:48:00 AM PDT by ilovesarah2012
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To: autumnraine

This must be just one example of that “flexibility” Obama told the Russians he would have after the election.

17 posted on 04/06/2013 5:54:50 AM PDT by Josh Painter ("The lesser of two evils is, by definition, evil." - Josh Painter)
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To: ilovesarah2012

buy American so when the radicals take over in the very near future like they did in Iran under Jimmy Carter ( notice a pattern here ) and turn against us, they will have a hard time finding parts.

18 posted on 04/06/2013 6:25:15 AM PDT by rdcbn
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To: elpadre

“After the election, I will have more flexibility.” - message transmitted comrad

19 posted on 04/06/2013 6:32:49 AM PDT by FreeAtlanta (
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To: ronnie raygun

Hey, Russians make good helicopters! Why not buy them and use em—Or we could be like the Chinese, buy one and copy them.

20 posted on 04/06/2013 6:43:35 AM PDT by Forward the Light Brigade (Into the Jaws of H*ll)
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To: usmcobra

Actually Russian helicopters, particularly older designs like the MI-17, literally will fly for decades with relatively poor maintenance, which for helicopters usually is the kiss of death. One can argue about the Pentagon usurping Congress. One can argue about giving American taxpayer money to a Russian firm. However, when it comes to large helicopters that are to be used in a foreign country by users who associate the word ‘maintenance’ with the same relish they associate with ‘pork’ then it is really hard to argue against the Mi-17. From Uganda to Uzbekistan it has proven its ability to fly in the hands of poor pilots, questionable fuel and really interesting fluids, and nonexistent maintenace crews for thousands of hours.

21 posted on 04/06/2013 6:54:41 AM PDT by spetznaz (Nuclear-tipped Ballistic Missiles: The Ultimate Phallic Symbol)
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To: autumnraine

Should we hold it against the Russians because they are supplying the good guys in Syria? Just because Obama and Moran (or is it Moron) are backing the anti-American muslim terrorists in Syria doesn’t make those who are a bit more sane wrong.

22 posted on 04/06/2013 7:24:18 AM PDT by PAR35
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To: Hardraade
Congress means nothing. Good to have that confirmed.

You can say that again.

23 posted on 04/06/2013 8:53:17 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: autumnraine
For those who are keeping score, he has ignored the first and third articles, is working on bypassing the fourth article, the first, second, fourth, fifth, ninth and tenth amendments, and is heading for the twenty-second.


24 posted on 04/06/2013 8:57:36 AM PDT by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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To: Political Junkie Too

When it is time for him to bypass the 22nd, he will. And not one peep will be uttered in opposition by those in authority. You can count on that if obama allows an election in 2016, he will have it rigged so that he will win.

25 posted on 04/06/2013 9:01:45 AM PDT by sport
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To: usmcobra

Well they do have problems and crash but they also will fly at high altitudes and carry a large payload and they are easy to maintain and they are faster than the Chinook which is the only chopper we have that flies high with a big payload. As long as they are leaving them in Asaghanistan who gives a rats bazoo?

The only thing I’m ticked off about is that we are leaving anything there except the fleas and dancing boys.

26 posted on 04/06/2013 9:05:25 AM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: spetznaz
Sounds like a good helicopter for Afghanistan. I have no problem with AFGAHNS buying them. I see no reason for us to pay for them however. Afghanistan will just revert to what it was before we got there anyway, so why throw good money after bad?
27 posted on 04/06/2013 9:12:01 AM PDT by Colorado Doug (Now I know how the Indians felt to be sold out for a few beads and trinkets)
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To: autumnraine

Actually, in this case it makes sense. Almost all the military gear the Afghan army has is Russian made. US equipment is just not compatible with it. Russian stuff is also far easier to maintain. For example, the AK-47 has only three field-serviceable parts. Such simplicity is a philosophy with them.

Plus a great secret of Russian aircraft is that it is much simpler to operate. The old joke was that the Russian spaceship that took their Cosmonauts to the Moon only had three buttons. “Start”, “Stop”, and “Self-Destruct”.

28 posted on 04/06/2013 9:34:30 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy (Best WoT news at
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To: Hardraade

The masters of kick backs mow have to pay the price.

29 posted on 04/06/2013 9:43:09 AM PDT by Vaduz
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To: ilovesarah2012

Lets look at this thing from the beginning.

We have already bought these animals 70 helicopters form the russians Now we want to buy them 30 more.,

WTF are we doing buying helicopters for Afghanistan in the first place. The day we move pout of there they will go back to the 10th. century and a hundred-—nay— a thousand helcopters will not stop it.

The smart thing to do is tell them nothing and like the Baltimore Colts, move out in the middle of the night, and destroy anything we cannot carry with us —including the 70 helicopters we already bought them.

30 posted on 04/06/2013 12:46:44 PM PDT by Venturer
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To: autumnraine
We bought 30 Russian helos to replace the VH-3D and VH-60D presidential and executive birds.

1. Obama feels more comfortable in communist equipment;
2. he stiffs Sikorsky, and
3. the Russian helos come with English speaking, Russian crews that cost less than U.S. military crews.

It's because of “sequestration” don't you know, you stupid Yankees.

31 posted on 04/06/2013 1:02:19 PM PDT by MasterGunner01
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
US equipment is just not compatible with it. Russian stuff is also far easier to maintain. For example, the AK-47 has only three field-serviceable parts. Such simplicity is a philosophy with them.

We can't come up with a simple, durable helicopter?

32 posted on 04/06/2013 1:13:07 PM PDT by Drew68
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To: Drew68

There are pluses and minuses to every design strategy.

For instance, Russian tanks were so relatively easy to use, but had such rotten engines, that tank crews would form up in three man groups for training and run around pretending to be using their tanks. From the moment the engine was started, they were only good for some 300 operational hours before the engine needed a complete rebuild.

US helicopters were extremely high tech and deadly, light and fast, but every time they flew they had to get a lot of maintenance, used several minutes of flight pre-checks before the engine was started, and had to have highly trained pilots. This is expensive as all heck.

A Russian helicopter was much like a tank. Heavily armored, simple to fly, and could give and take much abuse of most kinds. Routine maintenance was much less. Pilots were a dime a dozen. A lot cheaper than anything the US produced.

Importantly, Soviet strategy was also weird, because nobody was supposed to do anything until ordered to. The Germans learned in WWII, if a unit commander was killed, the unit would just continue what it had last been ordered to do, unless they were fired on.

In one instance, a German battalion arrived on one side of a river to see a Russian brigade, about 10 times their size on the other side. Realizing the Russians weren’t shooting, the German commander quickly ordered his soldiers to hold their fire. Then he called in an enormous time on target (rounds landing all at once) artillery strike on the other side. Suddenly the entire other bank of the river disappeared in a giant cloud of dust and smoke, punctuated with detonating artillery rounds. They were wiped out.

33 posted on 04/06/2013 1:35:41 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy (Best WoT news at
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To: Hardraade

Documentation File on the harmful impact of the Counterculture of Obamanation on America.


Barry Soetoro, aka B. Hussein Obama, first Inaugural quote: “I want to FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGE AMERICA!”


Flexible Barry in action!

34 posted on 04/06/2013 2:15:41 PM PDT by Graewoulf (Traitor John Roberts' Commune-Style Obama'care' violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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