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Super Tucano and Mi-17 for Afghanistan stricken from appropriations bill

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posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 11:06 AM
The Senate passed a $594B defense spending bill for FY2014, but eliminated the Sierra Nevada/Embraer Super Tucano light attack fighter, and the Mil Mi-17 transport helicopter ordered for the Afghanistan military, through the Foreign Military Sales office.

The team of Sierra Nevada and Embraer were awarded the contract after a three year, hard fought contract that included a rebid of the contract after it was awarded to Beechcraft, but was protested. Beechcraft had proposed the AT-6 Texan for the contract. The contract was for 20 aircraft, to go to the Afghanistan Air Force, to allow them to have an anti-insurgent capability. Beechcraft had vowed to appeal to Congress to block the sale, as there was the potential for more sales beyond Afghanistan.

The Mil Mi-17 was chosen over the Sikorsky S-61, as being more appropriate for the terrain, and operating conditions. Sikorsky said it was frozen out of bidding, and filed protest but the GAO upheld the contract. Sikorsky again said they would go to Congress to stop the sale.

It's no wonder that we can't cut defense spending. These companies are like three year olds who can't get their way. If the GAO denies them, they run to "dad" in Congress, and their bought Congresspeople and get their way. Both of these sales are necessary, even though we're trying to cut spending, to ensure that Afghanistan is capable of protecting itself. Regardless of your feelings toward the war, we went in, we destroyed any military forces they had, and we need to ensure they can protect themselves. But Beech and Sikorsky only care about getting their way, so that won't happen.

The US Senate appropriations committee has passed a $594 billion defence spending bill for fiscal year 2014 that eliminates funding to buy Sierra Nevada/Embraer Super Tucanos and Mil Mi-17 transport helicopters for Afghanistan's military.

The bill follows similar moves by the House of Representatives, which approved its version of the defence bill on 24 July. The Senate version now must come before the full chamber for a vote, and any differences between the two bills must be worked out with the House chamber in a conference committee. But Congress is very close to eliminating two key programmes aimed at bolstering the capabilities of Afghan security forces before the planned US drawdown beginning next year.

Both programmes have been highly controversial with US-based defence contractors and within the acquisition bureaucracy of the Pentagon.

posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 12:04 PM
reply to post by Zaphod58

Can they fly that stuff?

posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 12:07 PM
reply to post by Nephalim

They currently have both fixed wing, and helicopter aviation wings. The helicopter wings already use the Mi-17. Fixed wing includes the C-27, AN-26, and a ready reserve of AN-32s. No light strike aircraft yet though.

posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 12:10 PM
If I'm not mistaken, this is a military filled with guys who literally grew up playing in the wrecks of Soviet force equipment and cut their teeth on Russian made equipment later on, right? So the only logical route in a region of the world where everything has always been Russian (including spare parts and mechanical skills) would be to supply them Russian style gear....right?

I know a lot of people screamed about the idea of giving Russian helicopters to U.S. supported forces but heck? When in Rome, you don't order Chinese.

posted on Aug, 4 2013 @ 12:14 PM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

Exactly. The Afghan forces have almost always used Soviet, later Russian equipment, from guns, to aircraft. So if we supplied them with S-61s, and M-16s, we'd have to start from the bottom, and work to where they could maintain them. They still will have trouble maintaining the Russian equipment at first, but at least there's a baseline already in place.

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