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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Rotorcraft Report: U.S. Gives Pakistan Russian Choppers

MILITARY

When Pakistan’s government asked for helicopters, the U.S. came through by providing four Russian-built MI-17 cargo helicopters to the Pakistani Army.

"The additional helicopters are meant to enhance Pakistan’s capabilities in current operations against militant extremists, and its efforts to care for hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis who have been displaced from their homes by the fighting," a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan said. "The U.S. is in the process of identifying additional MI-17s that may be made available to Pakistan in the future."

Why would the U.S. government provide an ally with Russian-built helicopters, rather than rotorcraft made at home? "The reasoning was that the U.S. had them on hand, and Pakistan already operates this model and so would have no difficulty absorbing them on short notice," explained John Pike, director of the intelligence site GlobalSecurity.org.

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