UPDATE: Pentagon cancels contract
As the result of bipartisan U.S. Congressional opposition, the Pentagon has cancelled the latest order of Russian Mi-17 helicopters for Afghanistan. Many members of Congress objected to the U.S. buying equipment from the same source that supplies Syrian government forces.
Wars come and go but the military industry lives on. The Russian state-owned arms trade company, Rosoboronexport, recently announced – without a trace of irony – a new agreement with the U.S. government to supply military transport helicopters to the Afghanistan National Army.
Under the agreement with the U.S. government, Rosoboronexport will provide the Afghan Army with 30 Mi-17V-5 military transport helicopters in 2014. These are in addition to the 33 Mi-17V-5s the company previously supplied to Afghanistan under Russia-U.S. agreements that are “a joint effort to combat international terrorism.” The press release notes that the helicopter and its predecessors built in the Kazan Helicopter Plant have “vast operational experience … in a variety of armed conflicts, including Afghanistan.”
The arms industry of a former Cold War superpower is selling support equipment to the government of the former rival superpower for combat use in a country where both powers have sequentially lost the ongoing war. Perhaps this is the new definition of victory – conquest by the “defence” industry.