Moscow: Russia and the US will set up a maintenance centre for Military Mi-17 helicopters bought by Washington for the Afghan armed forces.
"We have agreed that this [Mi-17] joint project with the US will encompass this kind of facility on the territory of Afghanistan because the transportation of helicopters to Europe for repairs would be too expensive," Deputy Director of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Vyacheslav Dzirkaln said Thursday.
The US signed a contract on the purchase of 21 Mi-17V5 military transport helicopters from Russia for $367.5 million May 26.
The Mi-17 is an export version of the Mi-8 Hip helicopter. Currently in production at two factories in the Russian Volga area city of Kazan and the East Siberian city of Ulan-Ude, it features powerful turboshaft engines and can transport up to 35 troops.
The Mi-17V5 version is equipped with a loading ramp instead of the clam-shell doors, an additional door and a new "dolphin nose".
The first helicopters will be sent to Afghanistan in October 2011.