Afghan Mi-17 helos in Arizona: arranged and battle-ready to Ukraine

WASHINGTONUkraine‘s armed forces have begun receiving multi-purpose Mi-17 transport helicopters from the United States, formerly owned by the Afghan Air Force. Pictures of lined up and ready to transport and enter the battle have been published by the US Department of Defense.

Afghan Mi-17 helos in Arizona: arranged and battle-ready to Ukraine
Photo credit: 167th Airlift Wing

Soviet-made Afghan helicopters are owned by the 167th Air Force Wing of the United States Air Force. They were [several helicopters flew to Ukraine, another not yet] landed at the Davis-Montan base in Arizona, from where C-17 Globemaster III aircraft transported them to Stuttgart, Germany. From there, they are assigned to the war in Ukraine.

Some of the helicopters shown in the photos have already been transferred and are flying in the Ukrainian sky in the line of duty. It is known that the package of security assistance to Ukraine from the United States includes 20 Mi-17 helicopters. The published photos were taken before some of the helicopters were transported.

Afghan Mi-17 helos in Arizona: arranged and battle-ready to Ukraine
Photo credit: 167th Airlift Wing

About two dozen Mi-8/17 helicopters from the former Afghan Air Force were out of the country, and their fate remains unknown. The Mi-17 is the export name of the Soviet Mi-8MT multi-role helicopter, developed by the ML Mile Design Bureau in the early 1960s.

… and fighter jets

As BulgarianMilitary.com reported on April 22, the Ukrainian Air Force already has a larger set of fighters to deal with the Russian invasion. US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby revealed that Ukrainian forces “have more fixed-wing fighters now than they did two weeks ago.”

Kirby avoided clarifying the origin of the additional devices but admits that this is due to foreign aid. The fact that the country’s fleet has increased, he said, “is not a coincidence, because other nations that have experience with this type of aircraft have been able to help them launch more aircraft.”

Afghan Mi-17 helos in Arizona: arranged and battle-ready to Ukraine
Photo credit: 167th Airlift Wing

With these words, the Pentagon spokesman seems to be implying that these are devices that would already be available to Kyiv and that they have already received certain spare parts and assistance that allow them to be returned to the air. However, during a press conference in April, Kirby added, after warning that he did not want to “go into what other nations offer that Ukrainians had been given additional platforms and parts to be able to increase the size of their fleet.”

Afghan Mi-17 helos in Arizona: arranged and battle-ready to Ukraine
Photo credit: 167th Airlift Wing

He later explained that he would not give more details on the subject: “I think I would leave it at that,” he added. But when asked what he meant by “platform”, Kirby admitted that “the platform is an airplane in this case. In this way, they received additional aircraft and aircraft parts to help them launch more aircraft”.

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