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Mi-17 helicopter: US deal to buy Russian helicopters for Afghans ignites critics

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The Pentagon's recent purchase of nearly $1 billion worth of Russian Mi-17 helicopters is raising more questions than answers. The Associated Press reported on Dec. 7 that although the United States plans to provide the new helicopters to Afghan security forces, the Pentagon eluded U.S. companies and chose to purchase dozens of Mi-17 helicopters which are manufactured in Moscow factories.

Despite Senior Pentagon officials assuring skeptical lawmakers that the Defense Department had made the right decision, some members of Congress have stepped forward to question the deal.

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Recently Republican Senator John Cornyn, who is the current Senate Minority Whip for the 113th Congress, expressed his opposition to the deal.

“Why are we buying Russian helicopters when there are American manufacturers that can meet that very same requirement?” Makes no sense whatsoever and the Department of Defense has steadfastly refused to cooperate with reasonable inquiries into why in the world they continue to persist along this pathway," Coryn said

Many lawmakers find the Mi-17 helicopter purchase troubling because of the corrupt nature of the Russian defense industry, WebProNews reports. The Department of Defense chooses to remain vague about details surrounding the decision to purchase the Mi-17 helicopters which has resulted in Congressional members to become suspicious of the deal.

Pentagon officials repeatedly mentioned a secret 2010 study that, according to them, regarded the Mi-17 helicopter as the best option. However, it turns out that the study offered a very different story.

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