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Afghanistan to receive 21 Mi-17 helicopters from Russia

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Afghan National Air Corps Mi-17 helicopters take off in a formation practice. A file photo.

MOSCOW (BNS): Russia will be delivering 21 Mi-17 Hip Multi-Mission helicopters to the Afghan Air Force, the Afghan Tolo television network reported on Monday.

The defence contract worth $300 million was concluded with the approval of the с command in Afghanistan, according to a news report by RIA Novosti.

The Mi-17 Helicopter is a medium weight, single rotor helicopter. The aircraft construction primarily incorporates the airframe of a Mi-8 with the power train of the Mi-24, which provides an increase in performance and gross weight over the basic Mi-8.

The aircraft is configured with a five bladed main rotor system (70 ft diameter), and a wheeled landing gear.

It is specifically designed for improved capabilities at high altitudes and in hot weather conditions.

The Afghan Air Force currently has 25 Mi-17 helicopters, mainly used for transport and rescue missions in the country.

The country plans to increase the number of Mi-17 helicopters to 56 by 2012.

More Mi-17 in the air force fleet will thus help in transporting troops and cargo and also in conducting rescue and evacuation missions in the fight against Taliban.

The helicopters are manufactured by the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant JSC in Moscow, the Kazan Helicopter Plant JSC in Kazan and the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, and are available in civil and military versions.

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