Russians and Ukrainians are fighting over two Afghan helicopter maintenance

MOSCOW, KYIV, (BM) – Russia’s state-owned helicopter manufacturer wants Ukrainian mechanics to stay away from Afghanistan’s Mi-17, learned citing FlugRevue. At first, glance sounds like the plot of a rather dull soap opera contains many explosives in terms of content. Specifically, the dispute is about two Mi-17V-5s of the Afghan Air Force. Afghanistan received this in 2014 together with 58 other copies of the modernized Mi-17 variant. The helicopters were ordered by the US Department of Defense in 2011 – but only for the sake of completeness.

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Modernized Mi-17 variant

Said two Mi-17V-5s have recently been in Ukraine for maintenance. One went to Motor Sich in Zaporizhia, and the second stayed with Aviakon in Konotop. Both companies are quite experienced in overtaking various Mil helicopters and maintain the same for the domestic military, among other things. Russian Helicopters, however, deny them the ability to look after the Afghans’ Mi-17V-5 properly. “The overhaul of these helicopters is carried out in companies that do not master the overhaul in the prescribed manner. The reason is that there is no updated documentation for repair and construction, spare parts or repair kits have been delivered to these aircraft repair companies,” says Russia.


One cannot avoid seeing the maintenance of helicopters in Ukraine as “unlawful,” “since it is carried out without the involvement of the developer [Mil & Kamow] and the manufacturer [Kazan Helicopters JSC].” This inadmissible action endangers “the lives of the American and Afghan soldiers who operate these helicopters,” warns Russian Helicopters. Therefore, in the future, they reject “any responsibility for the continued safe operation of the helicopters mentioned” and will refuse “services in connection with the maintenance of these helicopters.”

Mi-17 a discontinued model in Afghanistan

So far, nothing has heard from Ukraine about the allegations. It is also unclear whether Afghanistan will still have the helicopter serviced as planned. However, the Afghan Mi-17 will be replaced entirely in the coming years by Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk and Boeing CH-47 Chinook from US stocks. By then, at the latest, the problem should have been resolved anyway – at least in this particular matter, because Russian Helicopters has announced that it will add both Motor Sich and Aviakon to the list of companies that perform maintenance work on Russian helicopters without authorization.

Russian Expert: we see growing demand for helicopter gunships

The CEO of Russia’s arms exporter Rosoboronexport (an affiliate of Rostec), Alexander Mikheyev, has pointed to growing world demand for helicopter gunships, as we reported last year in May.

“We see growing demand for helicopter gunships on the world market of helicopter technologies. This is a global trend. Rosoboronexport timely estimated its parameters and now offers its customers the most advanced samples tested in combat conditions – Ka-52 and Mi-28NE,” the company’s press-release said then. The company’s chief sees favorable trends in the segment of multirole helicopters, where Russia presents Ansat and Ka-226T models.

Rosoboronexport expects a surge in interest towards Russian military helicopters after the 12th international helicopter industry show HeliRussia-2019, which opened in Moscow on May 16. Russia will offer foreign customers a variety of helicopters capable of coping with tasks in different conditions, including combat-transport, military-transport and transport helicopters Mi-35P, Mi-35M, Mi-17V-5, Mi-171Sh and Mi-26T2, which enjoy stable popularity on the market.

Read more: The AAF in Kandahar received the first 5 MD 530F Cayuse Warrior helicopters


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