Originally Posted by zydecocruiser
How much would equivalent US helicopters cost factoring in training costs, spare parts, etc.
Not to mention letting potential and/or actual enemies have access to our technology (some of which has likely been outsourced to potential and/or actual enemies
"Another area which Afghans still rely on U.S. troops is air support, a crucial advantage when trying to pinpoint the location of enemies who can blend into the local populace mo*ments after a firefight.
The Obama administration an*nounced recently it will spend almost $600 million on Russian helicopters for the fledgling Afghan air force. The choice of Russian models was made because of Afghans' familiarity with the Soviet-era aircraft.
But concerns persist that the Afghans will not be able to maintain the aircraft in the long term. The reason the purchsae is needed is to replace Russian helicopters the Afghans could not maintain and now they are junk. It's like pouring good money after bad.
Afghani*stan's air force is nearly non-existent at the moment, Ahmed Majidyar, an Afghanistan expert with the American Enterprise Institute.
"When the Soviet forces left Af*ghanistan (more than 20 years ago), their air force was better trained and better equipped than it is right now," Majidyar says.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 2,2013
The Mi-17 is a hulking whale of an aircraft that can carry a whole lot more than a BlackHawk
Afghans are incapable of sustaining their fleet.
“The Afghans lack the capacity — in both personnel numbers and expertise — to operate and maintain the existing and planned ... fleets,” the report says.
Here’s a breakdown of everything wrong with the program:
NATO and the Pentagon don’t have a specific plan for when the program will reach its full size.
The U.S. performs 50% of maintenance and 70% of critical maintenance and logistics management for the Special Mission Wing and does not currently have any plan to transfer that responsibility to the Afghans.
The Special Mission Wing had less than 25% of its needed strength at the time of the audit and showed little prospects for growth.
Only seven pilots are qualified to fly with night vision goggles, which is necessary for most counter-terrorism missions.
It is difficult to find recruits who are literate and do not have associations with terrorist or insurgent activity.
Afghan Ministries of Defense and Interior do not have an agreement on the Special Mission Wing command and control structure, impacting growth and capacity.
The Defense Department plans to spend $109 million per year for oversight, maintenance, training, and logistics support of the aircraft program for the next several years.
No one expects the Afghans to be able to independently operate the Special Mission Wing for at least a decade.
Capabilities First, Politics Second
Opponents of the Department of Defense’s plans to purchase helicopters from the Russians argue that American-made helicopters, such as the UH-60 Blackhawk, would be a better alternative. Although the UH-60 has similar operational capabilities to the Mi-17, the Mi-17 is the best choice for the needs of the AAF, the Afghan government, and the U.S. taxpayer for a number of reasons:
Security Is Not Cheap
It is not just the cost of the Russian-made helicopters that has lawmakers concerned but also the overall cost of the ANSF. Afghanistan’s armed forces will need financial support from the international community for the foreseeable future. A major part of the post-2014 commitment to Afghanistan will be mentoring, training, and funding the ANSF. Maintaining an ANSF capable enough to take the security lead in Afghanistan will cost the international community approximately $4 billion to $5 billion per year, of which the U.S. has agreed to fund roughly half. To place this sum into perspective, the U.S. spent about this amount every 12 days on combat operations in Afghanistan in 2012.