The Defense Department has no real plans to stop supplying Russian-made military hardware for countries like Afghanistan, despite congressional demands to stop.
“If Russia is our number one geopolitical foe”, according to Mitt Romney, who insulted the Russians during Obama’s overseas visit, “what does that say about us buying Russian military equipment for other countries at a time when people are out of work in America”, said Paul Smith of Charlotte, N.C.
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) pressed a panel of service aviation chiefs on Tuesday as to why the Pentagon continued to “spend millions” to buy Russian-military equipment when there are viable, U.S.-built alternatives on the market?
HAVE Mi-17s WILL TRAVEL
In the case of the Mi-17s being bought for the Afghan Air Force (previously accused of drug running heroin for the Taliban), Wilson noted the Pentagon could easily ship (old substandard broken down) Vietnam-era Huey helicopters to the Afghans instead of the Russian-made helicopters.
What is preventing us from transferring these “aging aircraft to the Afghani . . . air forces?" Wilson asked during Tuesday's hearing of the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee.
Along with clearing out old Vietnam era U.S. surplus equipment, supplying the old Huey helicopters would ensure no more American taxpayer dollars would go to Russian defense firms that also sell arms to Syria.
It seems like a valid argument until you talk to some Afghan Army officers who say Russia builds a much better helicopter for a fraction of the cost than American defense contractors, like Boeing do. “American contractors routinely overcharge the government as much as 20- 40% in some case to cover healthcare costs, bonuses and overtime expenses”, according to one defense expert in Charlotte, N.C. who declined to be named in this report.
Rosoboronexport, the Russian company under “DoD contract” (paid in advance) to supply Mi-17s to Afghanistan (see: Russia-US copter deal for Afghan war http://www.presstv.ir/detail/182202.html ), is actively engaged in shipping weapons to Syria, which is in a desperate fight with armed terrorist groups, including al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood, who want to turn Syria into an Islamic caliphate. This is something the US opposes because it wants regime change in that country in an effort to “grab oil resources and establish a base against Iran”, said one Pentagon analyst speaking on the condition of anonymity.
It’s all part of “the Plan” (see: Gen Wesley Clark Reveals US Plan To Invade Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Lybia, Somalia, Sudan, And Iran http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LTdx1nPu3k ).
The Pentagon is simply not going to stop doing business with Russia. Despite calls for the Pentagon to end its relationship with Rosoboronexport, that is not going to happen.
"That is a very tough question that I know everyone is wrestling with," Maj. Gen. William Crosby, head of Army aviation, said as part of an alibi during Tuesday's hearing.
Dealing directly with Rosoboronetexport is the only way to guarantee the "airworthiness and safety cognizance" for U.S. and Afghan forces flying the Mi-17, Crosby told subcommittee members.
“Who cares if they supply arms to American enemies?”, says Brad Foster of Charlotte
The time, cost and effort needed to retrain Afghan pilots on the Huey or any other American-made helicopter would be extraordinary if the Pentagon decided to move from the Mi-17, according to Crosby.
YOU MUST REMEMBER MANY AFGHANS CAN’T READ OR WRITE?
American and coalition advisers would have to start from scratch teaching the Afghan forces, many of whom "can't read or write" how to use the Huey under battlefield conditions.
While the Huey may "seem pretty simple to us, compared to an Mi-17, they are pretty complex," the two-star general told Wilson and the rest of the House subpanel, leaving many with their mouths open.
On the other hand, Afghan forces have already been flying the Mi-17 on and off since the Russian occupation in the 1980's.
It was also brought out that the Russian battle helicopters played an instrumental role in the U.S. offensive into the Taliban stronghold , when American aircraft broke down or were not practical under the situation.Mi-17s ferried ANSF troops and provided air cover for coalition forces during the battle, which kicked off President Obama’s surge strategy in Afghanistan that year…a fact not well known by the American public.
“The US Army operates with equipment that is overly expensive and easily prone to breakdown in desert like conditions”, say Bob Dickenson of Charlotte. “We outsource a lot of what our troops use, including BDU uniforms made by a US company that has it manufactured in China. You name it, American flags, plastic canteens all made by companies that ship that stuff in from China”, says Erin Wick of Charlotte.
To date the Pentagon has spent almost a billion dollars buying Russian helicopters for the Afghans ... “Call it pride in America, but made in Russia”, said Phillip Jordan of Charlotte. “It’s a freaking disgrace”, he said.