Iraq abandons Mi-17 helo due to dwindling spare parts stocks
BAGHDAD, IRAQ — It has become known that the Iraqi army plans to replace its fleet of Russian-made Mi-17 Hip helicopters with US-made Bell 412EPX and Bell 412M helicopters. This is reported by The Drive.
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It is noted that the Iraqi armed forces explain this with a significant reduction in the stock of spare parts for the Mi-17 due to Russia’s own needs.
However, several Western military experts and publications are skeptical, believing that these plans are related to direct instruction from Washington.
It was noted that the US Office for Security Cooperation in Iraq dictated its terms, imposing its own helicopters on the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, which in many ways are significantly inferior to Russian aircraft.
Mi-17 for Ukraine?
The Drive also noted that this is very similar to the US government’s efforts to eliminate Russian-made helicopters from the Iraqi army with a view to their subsequent delivery to friends in Kyiv, as was the case with the Mi-17 helicopters of the Afghan Air Force.
It was emphasized that the multi-role Mi-17 Hip is a much larger helicopter with much better performance and payload. Another advantage of the Mi-17 Hip is the presence of a rear ramp. This greatly facilitates landing, as well as loading and unloading.
However, the US Office for Security Cooperation in Iraq has already indicated that this is not the case and is working with the Iraqi Ministry of Defense to upgrade the entire fleet from Russian helicopters to American-made helicopters to simplify training, maintenance, and acquiring parts of the wrist.
US officials have also previously insisted that the Afghan air force replace its Mi-17s with the UH-60A+ Black Hawk, despite similar acknowledgment that the US-made helicopters lack such capabilities.
Last June BulgarianMilitary.com reported that Ukraine‘s armed forces have begun receiving multi-purpose Mi-17 transport helicopters from the United States, formerly owned by the Afghan Air Force.
Soviet-made Afghan helicopters were 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.
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.
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