Procurement: Cold War Keeps Afghans Flying


April 14, 2007: Afghanistan is receiving six Mi-17 transport and six Mi-24 gunship helicopters from the Czech Republic. Afghanistan continues to benefit from the Cold War surplus weapons still in service. East European nations have been particularly generous, providing tanks, aircraft and other Cold War era weapons and equipment. While the stuff is used, it is still in good shape. The Czechs are refurbishing and upgrading the helicopters before they begin delivering them this Fall.

The Afghans prefer the older Soviet equipment, because those Afghans with experience using military aircraft or vehicles, gained that experience on Soviet equipment. Moreover, the Soviet equipment is simple and robust, and best suited to the conditions found in Afghanistan, and the skill levels of Afghan operators and maintainers. The Russians have also agreed to supply spare parts and technical assistance for free, or at low rates.


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