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Russia completes delivery of helicopters to Afghanistan

Russia has completed delivery of Mil Mi-17V-5 helicopter gunships to Afghanistan's army to meet contract obligations, the Federal Service for Military-Technical Co-operation said on Thursday.

Sixty-three machines produced by Helicopters of Russia in the city of Kazan have been supplied to Afghanistan under a 2011 contract between weapons exporters Rosoboronexport and the US Department of the Army.

Further deliveries and service maintenance of helicopters already in operation may be the subject of further discussion, Russian officials say.

Russia's weapons exporter, Rosoboronexport, and the United States signed a contract on supplies of 21 helicopters in the spring 2011. Last year, Russia supplied 12 helicopters under an additional contract.

Later, the sides reached a new agreement on supplies of another 30 helicopters in 2014. According to the US, the overall contract is worth $1.2 billion.

Although it is still unclear whether the US will order new helicopters for the Afghan army, it will have to buy components for Mi-17B5 transport helicopters (NATO reporting name HIP) in Russia, the manufacturer's marketing director Valery Pashko said earlier.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 30Oct14]

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