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U.S.-Russia copter deal faces scrutiny
Associated Press ^ | December 8, 2013 | RICHARD LARDNER

Posted on 12/08/2013 9:21:54 AM PST by DJ Taylor

WASHINGTON — The deal looked sketchy from the start.

To outfit Afghanistan’s security forces with new helicopters, the Pentagon bypassed U.S. companies and turned instead to Moscow for dozens of Russian Mi-17 rotorcraft at a cost of more than $1 billion.

Senior Pentagon officials assured skeptical members of Congress that the Department of Defense had made the right call. They repeatedly cited a top-secret 2010 study they said named the Mi-17 as the superior choice.

Turns out the study told a very different story, according to unclassified excerpts obtained by The Associated Press.

(Excerpt) Read more at hawaiitribune-herald.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Russia
KEYWORDS: russianmi17
IMHO, the Pentagon has a better understanding of the needs of the Afghan Military than does members of Congress.
1 posted on 12/08/2013 9:21:55 AM PST by DJ Taylor
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To: DJ Taylor

Do we smell an “Obamunism” at work here ???


2 posted on 12/08/2013 9:25:13 AM PST by EagleUSA
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To: EagleUSA

Yes indeed we do. It’s yet another wealth transfer (YAWT). From US taxpayers (now and in the future), only this time to Russia. Comes with being flexible.


3 posted on 12/08/2013 9:30:31 AM PST by C210N (When people fear government there is tyranny; when government fears people there is liberty)
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To: EagleUSA

“Do we smell an “Obamunism” at work here ???”

No, I think it has more to do with military practicality versus Congressional lobbying and campaign contributions.

After logging quite a few hours in the back end of Russian Mi-17 Hip helicopters, several things about the aircraft and how the Russians built them became apparent. The Mi-17 is similar in size and has similar performance capabilities as a CH-47 Chinook helicopter but comparing the two is like comparing a Yugo with a Ferrari. Both helicopters will get you from point A to point B, but that’s about where the similarity ends.

When an American boards an Mi-17, he knows right away he’s on an alien aircraft; nothing is familiar. The interior is painted a sickly blue; there’s no soundproofing padding, leaking hydraulic fluid smells strange, the engine’s loud and sounds like a washing machine with an unbalanced load and emits a foul smelling exhaust from half-burned fuel that finds its way into the troop compartment through the rear gunner’s window. But the most disconcerting thing about the Mi-17 is that the five rotor blades turn in a clockwise direction and the fuselage wobbles under the rotor blades in a counter clockwise direction. To fly in a forward motion while at the same time moving in a counter clockwise direction takes some getting used to.

There’s nothing on the Mi-17 that’s automatic or computer controlled. If the pilot wants the helicopter to do something, a lever must be pulled, a switch flipped or a button pushed. It doesn’t appear possible for the pilot to fly the aircraft alone in anything but straight and level flight. For anything else, it takes the pilot, the copilot, and the flight engineer working together to make the thing fly any kind of intricate maneuver. To watch the three of them put an Mi-17 into a tight LZ in marginal weather is like watching three maestros performing a concert together, but it makes one wonder what would happen to all on board if one or more of the trio were to become a casualty.

The overall simplicity of the Mi-17 is one of the most impressive things about it. This simplicity was demonstrated one day when we were out on an operation and our Mi-17 developed engine trouble. The pilot set us down on a small dirt road by a river; the Flight Engineer climbed up on the top of the aircraft, removed the engine cowling, and proceeded to disassemble the engine. Within a few minutes, there were parts and pieces of the engine lying all over the road, and it began to look to us as if we were out of the ongoing operation for good. But, just as we were about to call in that we were out of the play, the Flight Engineer found the offending engine part, pulled it out, blew on it several times and wiped it on his shirt, then he reassembled the engine, and we took off. Just try doing that with a CH-47 Chinook.

Even though the Mi-17 is a troop transport helicopter, it can be and usually is heavily armed. The Mi-17 can carry a variety of rack mounted weapons and the usual armament consists of rocket pods on the right and left side of the helicopter.

Mi-17s have rear clam-shell doors that can be swung out to take on equipment when the helicopter is on the ground with the engine shut down, but isn’t practical for quickly loading and unloading troops. The helicopter can carry thirty-four troops who must enter and depart the aircraft from one small troop door near the front left side of the aircraft, and right beside this troop door is a rocket pod holding twenty 80MM rockets with High Explosive warheads.
Passengers must pass directly in front of this rocket pod when entering or departing the aircraft, and if the pilot feels it’s necessary during a heliborne assault, he’ll salvo 10-20 80MM rockets into the LZ and at least one of these rockets will miss fire and still be hanging in the pod and smoking when the helicopter lands. Troops exiting the helicopter must pass directly in front of this smoking rocket, and, needless to say, this gives departing troops incentive to make a very quick exit of the aircraft.

Mounted over the Mi-17’s troop door is a hoist with a winch and several hundred feet of steel cable and is used to extract or lower personnel and equipment when an LZ is not available, but the hoist and steel cable have another and more mundane daily use. The five rotor blades on an Mi-17 generate a tremendous amount of static electricity during flight and when it sets down on an LZ on its three rubber tires it retains that charge of electricity until the helicopter is grounded. As an Mi-17 approaches an LZ, the Flight Engineer leans out the troop door, and, using the hoist, he lowers the steel cable with a grounding probe attached in order to ground the helicopter as it touches down. If a soldier walks up and touches an Mi-17 before the Flight Engineer has properly grounded the helicopter, the discharge of static electricity could possibly kill the soldier, or, at a minimum, it will knock him out.

It’s almost comical to see an Mi-17 arrive on an LZ to pick up a team, and, even though the Flight Engineer signals it’s safe to do so, no one wants to be the first to approach the helicopter. All too often, the Flight Engineer thinks he has properly grounded the helicopter but hasn’t. Therefore, Mi-17 protocol calls for junior personnel to board the aircraft first.

One of the most revealing things about how the Soviet Union designed and built aircraft or anything else for that matter is that the Mi-17 uses the same door handle on its troop door that’s been used on Russian army trucks since 1935. Apparently when the Mi-17 designer needed a door handle, he simply ordered a vehicle door handle from the door handle factory and was done with it.

If the Mi-17 had been a U.S. helicopter, the production of its troop door handle would’ve been ladled out as a dollop of pork on some U.S. Congressman’s District. The contract for this door handle would’ve gone to, probably, the Congressman’s brother-in-law. Tens of thousands of dollars would’ve been spent on that door handle’s R&D, and the final thoroughly tested and approved product would’ve been a one of a kind, ergonomic, Helicopter Door Handle, Type Mi-17 at a cost to the U.S. Taxpayer of at least a $1,000 each, but it would’ve really opened that door in style.

Like the Russian AK-47, the Mi-17 is crude, roughly finished, heavy, and compared to U.S. equipment they’re technically unsophisticated therefore comparatively easy for Third World soldiers to operate and maintain. As different from U.S. military equipment, there was no agenda involved in their design and production other than their utility. Lobbyists, politicians, and industrialist’s profit didn’t enter into the equation as it always does in U.S. weapons procurement.

Sometimes I wonder how we won the “Cold War” with Russia and the Soviet Union. Or did we really win the war, as the United States now has a Marxist Communist President and Russia now has a Free Market Capitalist President. If that thought doesn’t make your head hurt, nothing will.

DJ Taylor


4 posted on 12/08/2013 9:35:24 AM PST by DJ Taylor (Once again our country is at war, and once again the Democrats have sided with our enemy.)
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To: DJ Taylor

Well said. It’s the perfect chopper for their needs, and unforgiving environment.


5 posted on 12/08/2013 9:51:02 AM PST by miliantnutcase
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To: DJ Taylor

Thanks for a wonderful story and a bunch of laughs.

The ending is sad but terribly true.


6 posted on 12/08/2013 9:52:38 AM PST by Sequoyah101
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To: miliantnutcase

My bigger question is, “why are we buying them a damn thing?”

That is my money that is being wasted.


7 posted on 12/08/2013 9:53:35 AM PST by Sequoyah101
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To: EagleUSA

Iran deal.


8 posted on 12/08/2013 9:54:23 AM PST by SC_Pete
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To: DJ Taylor
The reason for that or any other purchase for the Afghan government is a false flag to cover stealing from the US treasury under the guise of legitimate defense spending when in essence it is nothing more than enriching the arms brokers, facilitators and US government criminals. This is just another among multitudes of schemes to bilk the treasury under the cloak of defense or other program of national importance such as the recent 600+ million heist laundered through CGI Federal.

These are shrewd ba*stards we're dealing with, who, once they realize that the American public is beginning to ask embarrassing questions, such as: If we are the world's greatest superpower in the history of mankind, why, can't we bring to a decisive victorious end a war after 10 years of fighting against an enemy who has no navy, no air force and an army that depends on donated weapons?.

There is no acceptable answer, so they will shut it down, the shooting part only. The shooting may stop but the spending will continue as usual, in one way or another.

9 posted on 12/08/2013 10:06:03 AM PST by varon (Para bellum)
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To: DJ Taylor

Sometimes the right tool for the job really is a sledgehammer.


10 posted on 12/08/2013 10:18:50 AM PST by null and void (I'm betting on an Obama Trifecta: A Nobel Peace Prize, an Impeachment, AND a War Crimes Trial...)
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To: DJ Taylor

bet it’s half the price and no shipping


11 posted on 12/08/2013 10:29:27 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: DJ Taylor

Yeah. The AF general officer who proposed this said that if the people back home could get past the knee jerk reaction, they’d see the practicality of this approach.

It’s actually cheaper and better for the Afghans to go this route. The M&O costs of keeping things together for them with U.S. equipment would be crippling for the Afghan government, so we all know who would end up paying it in the end.

But of course the politics of it overshadow the rationality...and you can’t dismiss the irony of the Afghans using Russian equipment, 24 years later, at the behest of the U.S.

Might be a bitter pill to swallow.


12 posted on 12/08/2013 10:42:08 AM PST by Regulator
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To: DJ Taylor

Why are we training and arming our enemy? Why is our government in incapable of destroying our enemy? Why is our government wasting our tax dollars on a losing proposition? The only thing we should do in Afghanistan is to protect and maintain our bases in the west so we can project power on Iran. Get our troops out of that hell hole and kill as many Mooslims as possible on the way out. Then rain down agent orange on every poppy field. I could care less about collateral damage that would occur to the people of that death cult.


13 posted on 12/08/2013 10:47:35 AM PST by ConservativeInPA (We need to fundamentally transform RATs lives for their lies.)
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To: Sequoyah101

They should have enough opium money to buy their own damn choppers lol.


14 posted on 12/08/2013 10:47:52 AM PST by miliantnutcase
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To: DJ Taylor

Good post. Russian helicopters are like Russian tractors and tanks. Short on sophistication and long on high tolerance ruggedness.


15 posted on 12/08/2013 10:52:39 AM PST by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: TADSLOS

Are you aware that John Deere is making Combines in what is called mother Russia. Yes the Green and Yellow Machines that are made in Moline, Illinois?


16 posted on 12/08/2013 11:18:05 AM PST by hondact200 (Candor dat viribos alas (sincerity gives wings to strength) and Nil desperandum (never despair))
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To: TADSLOS
yup, i once heard a Russian pilot say American planes like Rolex watch, drop watch, watch break

Russian planes like Micky Mouse watch, drop watch watch stop, shake watch, watch work again...

17 posted on 12/08/2013 11:19:30 AM PST by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
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To: hondact200

Well, I am now. Ain’t capitalism great?


18 posted on 12/08/2013 11:26:43 AM PST by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: miliantnutcase

Probably enough to buy us some damn choppers!


19 posted on 12/08/2013 11:39:15 AM PST by Sequoyah101
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To: hondact200

And John Deere isn’t what it used to be.

The 4020 durability and practicality are long gone. So is the same in many other brands.


20 posted on 12/08/2013 11:42:25 AM PST by Sequoyah101
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To: DJ Taylor

That was a great read, thanks.


21 posted on 12/08/2013 11:46:41 AM PST by ansel12 ( Ben Bradley-JFK-- told me that "he was all for people's solving their problems by abortion".)
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To: hondact200

So is New Holland.


22 posted on 12/08/2013 11:50:08 AM PST by BBell (The Blue Dog is Stupid)
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To: Sequoyah101

I agree. We have a 1958 two banger, never had rings, used all the time, starts right up. Also have a 59 Ford F700.

This is not entirely off topic because the durability of this old stuff can be likened to the Russian engineering in that you can beat it to death all day long and at the end of the day it begs for more.

Should the SHTF, this old garbage will still be running.


23 posted on 12/08/2013 12:35:42 PM PST by redfreedom (All it takes for evil to win is for good people to do nothing - that's how the left took over.)
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To: DJ Taylor
The Afghans are already familiar with the Mi-17 Hip. It makes no sense to reequip with a more expensive and sophisticated U.S. helicopter when they're being flown by goat herders. Also, the Mi-17 is much superior to U.S. equipment to fly in the high altitudes of Afghanistan.
24 posted on 12/08/2013 12:39:49 PM PST by MasterGunner01
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To: DJ Taylor

I have also read that the Mi-17 is better in the “hot and high” environment than the Chinook.


25 posted on 12/08/2013 12:58:32 PM PST by Fred Hayek (The Democratic Party is now the operational arm of the CPUSA)
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To: Fred Hayek
"I have also read that the Mi-17 is better in the “hot and high” environment than the Chinook."

After a series of Chinook crashes in Vietnam, we had a negative opinion of the Chinook and referred to it as the $*it-hook. There was also an oft repeated joke that the Chinook was the only aircraft in the world that could have a mid-air collision with its self.

Current Army Aviation spokesmen claim there is little similarity between todays Chinooks and Vietnam era models, but I'm still not convinced.

26 posted on 12/08/2013 1:17:11 PM PST by DJ Taylor (Once again our country is at war, and once again the Democrats have sided with our enemy.)
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To: BBell

Known as Case New Holland (CNH)Global. Came about when Case merged with New holland in Europe. Both John Deere and New Holland have been in Russia since 2010. I did find out that Case was there since 1895.

What the heck it is time I get rid of John Deere Zero Turn and get an Ariens or Gravely. The quality is not in John Deere anymore.


27 posted on 12/08/2013 1:29:10 PM PST by hondact200 (Candor dat viribos alas (sincerity gives wings to strength) and Nil desperandum (never despair))
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To: DJ Taylor

DJ: great analysis!


28 posted on 12/08/2013 2:00:00 PM PST by The_Media_never_lie (Actually, they lie when it suits them! The crooked MS media must be defeated any way it can be done!)
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To: redfreedom

Shhhhh.


29 posted on 12/08/2013 2:32:16 PM PST by Sequoyah101
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To: DJ Taylor

Thanks for the great insights.


30 posted on 12/09/2013 6:20:02 AM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: redfreedom
"Should the SHTF, this old garbage will still be running."

You are absolutely correct. If a multi-megaton nuke is ever detonated over the United States, the EMP released will destroy the electronics in almost every vehicle manufactured since 1990.

31 posted on 12/09/2013 8:31:40 AM PST by DJ Taylor (Once again our country is at war, and once again the Democrats have sided with our enemy.)
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