Former US adversaries to buy Russian attack choppers…with US consent

According to the last year’s contract Iraq is to buy 10 Mi-28NE Night Hunter (NATO codename: Havoc) along with armament and equipment, reports.

It is the first delivery of choppers, being a part of a bundle of contracts between Iraq and Russia. The aggregate value is claimed to be of around $4.3 billion – it is indeed quite a lot.

The Iraq’s Mi-28NE, being an export derivative of Mi-28N, are to increase the defense capabilities of the country significantly.

The equipment of the helicopter is pretty much the same as of the version used by the Russian Air Force and it includes: thermal imaging system, night vision system, Almaz-280 radar with a range of 10km. The radar is capable of detecting both ground and aerial targets.

Another peculiar feature of the Havoc is an integrated fly-by-wire system, capable of flying at low levels in an automated mode.

The armament is a 30mm cannon and several models of missiles, including Ataka anti-tank guided missiles as well as (quite unusual for an attack helicopter) air-to-air Igla-W and R-60 AAMs.

Not only does the Rosoboronexport offer include 10 helicopters, but it also contains pilots and ground crew training, supply of spare parts and armaments. It is the first contract of the two-party agreement.

Iraqi now being a democratic country, guided by the US may afford such expensive contract. As capt. Saad Al Khadfaji said in his interview for Arabian Aerospace: ‘We are a rich country. Our budget was $110 billion last year, and it will increase this year, so money is not a big issue’.

In the light of the above, $4.3 billion purchase of the Russian helicopters is just a tiny bit of the huge amount of money Iraq has at its disposal, probably thanks to the crude oil still being a valuable asset in the international market.

Iraq is not the sole former US adversary that buys military equipment from (another) former US enemy (Russia). Afghanistan also is to buy Mi-17V5’s until end of this year. A tripartite agreement between US, Afghanistan and Russia is a basis for this decision.

Rosoboronexport was to deliver 21 helicopters, with prospects of delivering another 12 pieces for the Afghan Armed Forces. The value of the Afghan contract, which is paid by Pentagon (sic!) is to be of $900 million.

This contract has been harshly critizized in the US, as it avoids the prohibition of armament purchases from Rosoboronexport. The prohibition was implemented by the US congress.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

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