We have, from time-to-time, joked that the USAF ought to buy a Russian aerial tanker as a way to avoid the Boeing-EADS-Northrop-Airbus rhubarb in the long-running KC-X saga.
Well, here’s news that the US Navy is planning to buy Russian helicopters and United Technology’s Sikorsky helicopter division is not at all happy with this sole-source selection.
Let’s see if all the Buy American crowd gets as wound up over this one as they have in the KC-X contest.
The US is buying the Russian helos for transfer to the Afghan air force. That’s what the Afghanis are used to operating.
And going by the speced data on Wikipedia
the S-61 has a service ceiling of 3-4000m
while the Mi17 boasts 6000m.
Could that make the difference for Afghanistan?
12000 produced, operated by quite a lot of countries
Here’s an article that details the rationale. Interestingly enough, Shelby of Alabama is one of the critics.
As I understand it, these Mi-17s will go directly to the Afghan Air Force, not the USN. It is only 21 helios, and the Mi-17 is well known by the Afghan pilots and maintenance crews.
It seems there are bigger battles to fight over the spending of defense dollars than this one.
Doesn’t the USAF spend more than this $180M each year on An-124 and An-76 support each year?
If you’re referring to the contracts for lift, I wouldn’t argue with those numbers. Isn’t it ironic that Senator Airbus from Alabama is one of those protesting this purchase?
isn’t it also ironic that it’s apparently OK to subsidize foreign jobs when the US doesn’t even benefit from it’s products?
Isn’t it also ironic that it’s apparently OK to pay a semi-tyrannical state’s war industry well known for it’s selling high-tech everything to China?
Isn’t it also ironic that it’s apparently OK to promote an indigenous industry behind an iron curtain of import restrictions, with heavily closed borders to US products?
don’t you like irony?
I like the irony involving Senator Airbus. As for that “semi-tyranical” state, well the french have their own way of doing things…always have. And yes, they do raise a lot of restrictions. Those french….
BTW, I have read also that some of these (or most) will be used airframes.
So you only enjoy irony that supports your parochial views. That’s a shame, you’re missing out on at least half the good ones out there.
Of course there’s also the irony of Taliban AF being trained by the Russians, the same people their dads were training the US provided stingers on – those stingers now partially in the hands of Al-Qaeda. Them being good at asymmetric warfare after receiving training from the brits and yanks…
Isn’t the world wonderfully full of irony?
Sikorsky has lodged a protest.
ikkeman, what do you mean saying that Senator Airbus gave the Taliban an Air Force?
Charlie Wilson would have been so proud.
Charlie Wilson and “his” war is a nicely working fig leaf
applied to hide the fact that the CIA was handfeeding
stoneage islamists in Afghanistan before any military
involvement of the SU there.
ikkeman, I seriously doubt any of the Stingers supplied back in the day is still able to do any harm.