Trump scorns Obama’s decision on Mi-17
June 26, 2017 By Washington Times
The Donald Trump Pentagon, in so many words, is saying that the Obama administration’s decision to waive punitive sanctions and buy combat helicopters from Russia was a bad deal.
The Pentagon’s first congressionally required report on Afganhistan under President Trump says the Russian Mi-17 chopper has proved a failure in the long war and will be phased out in favor of American-made UH-60 Black Hawks.
The Obama administration came to realize the failure in its last weeks in office and stopped the deal.
The report this month on “Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan” marks official confirmation that the Russian model broke down too often for the Afghan air force logistics system to keep up.
“Along with the increased expense and difficulty in maintaining the Mi-17 helicopter fleet, utility helicopters are in high demand and the required maintenance exceeds current capacity and capability, leading to maintenance backlogs and a reduced number of aircraft available,” the Defense Department report said. “Included in the recapitalization effort is an initiative to transition the force away from Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters to more reliable, cost-effective, and easier to sustain U.S.-made UH-60 helicopters.”
The Mi-17 stood as an outlier in President Obama’s economic-sanction-filled assault on the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to his invasion of eastern Ukraine.