US Senators try to sink chopper deal with Russia|
The U.S. State Department has rejected an appeal by a group of American Senators to cancel a contract with Rosoboronexport, Russia’s sole state agency for arms exports and imports. Its officials explained their decision saying the cancellation of the deal would cause serious damage to America. The U.S. will have to pay compensation for calling off the deal, and the U.S army will not get a sufficient number of helicopters, and this means the American programme of equipping the Afghan security forces will be jeopardized.
A contract to supply helicopters for the American forces was concluded by Rosoboronexport and the American Defence Department in May last year. In fact, it was the American military that made the request to buy them. Under the contract, Russia was to supply 21 Mi-17 military transport helicopters to the Pentagon. The deal exceeds 360 million dollars but reaches up to 900 million dollars with the supply of spare parts and providing technical services.
Unexpectedly, the senators expressed dissatisfaction over the deal when it was near completion and the American military made no complaints about the helicopters. Their move ahead of the presidential elections can be described as a PR campaign, says military expert Igor Korotchenko.
“Originally, it was clear that attempts by American Senators to tarnish and cancel the contract were groundless. The U.S. Defence Department was the initiator in signing an agreement on the supply of helicopters to U.S. forces in Afghanistan and is the most interested in party in the supply of Mi-17 helicopters. American Senators’ move is pointless. They expressed their own point of view and have nothing to do with determining the country’s official policy. The fact that all the i’s have been dotted means that the American administration and the military are well aware that it’s advantageous to cooperate with Russia. They have no intention to pull the chestnuts out of the fire in order to please those who try to engage in making small tricks in politics or political PR,” says Igor Korotchenko.
The cancellation of the contract will cause not only financial losses. The reason here is that there is no alternative to Russian helicopters, says Igor Korotchenko.
“In the conditions of Afghanistan, there is no alternative to Russian helicopters. The western helicopters are capricious and difficult to operate and often breakdown. They cannot withstand bad weather conditions. In view of this, Russian helicopters are the bestsellers like the Kalashnikov assault rifle,” Igor Korotchenko said.
However, what is the reason for the American Senator’s move? They are angry that Rosoboronexport is cooperating not only with the U.S. but also with Syria. There is a big difference in the attitudes towards Syria of the White House and the Kremlin. However, the Senators action is not only a populist move, say military experts. Attempts are being made to drive out Russia from the weapons market. The American Senators’ demand for cancelling the deal with Rosoboronexport is a link in one chain.