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Russia delivering copters to Afghanistan

Russia delivering copters to Afghanistan
Afghan National Air Corps MI-17 helicopters take off in a formation practice. (UPI/U.S. Dept. of Defense)

MOSCOW, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Russia will deliver to Afghanistan in the first half of this year 12 military transport helicopters purchased by the United States, officials said.

Nine Mi-17V5 military transport helicopters for the Afghan army had been delivered by Dec. 30, 2011, as part of a $367.5 million contract the United States signed in May to buy 21 of the helicopters, RIA Novosti reported.

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The helicopters are being assembled and tested for flight-worthiness.

Russia will deliver the remaining 12 copters and related equipment in the first six months of this year, the Federal Military-Technical Cooperation Service said Wednesday.

The helicopters, which feature powerful turbo-shaft engines and can transport up to 35 people, were made by Russia's state-controlled arms exporter Rosoboronexport.

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