November 6, 2009:
The UN is seeking another 16 helicopters, and a C-130, to support the 18,000 peacekeepers in Congo. The Congo force is the largest UN peacekeeping operation. But there is never enough equipment to support the 112,000 UN peacekeepers worldwide. That's despite a huge fleet of 17,000 vehicles and 300 aircraft. But there are never enough helicopters. Not enough nations have helicopters to contribute, although there are a growing number (usually Russian made Mi-17s) available to lease. But these are expensive, and the UN never has enough money. The helicopters are essential in peacekeeping operations to quickly rush reinforcements to flare-ups of unrest. If these can be taken care of quickly, they will not grow and get out of hand. Helicopters are also essential for evacuating peacekeeper casualties and keeping the troops supplied.