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Pentagon: Russian Mi-17 Helicopters Often Superior to Black Hawks In Afghan Conflict

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Pentagon: Russian Mi-17 Helicopters Often Superior to Black Hawks In Afghan Conflict

Photo : wikipedia / USArmy.mil

Russia’s Sputniknews reports (source):

While the US government would seem to be the last entity likely to declare Russian military equipment superior to the Made in the USA variety, that changed recently when the Pentagon’s watchdog found that Russian choppers can perform missions in Afghanistan that US-made choppers cannot.

The US Defense Department inspector general discerned that Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky Aircraft Black Hawk helicopters “are unable to accommodate some of the larger items the Mi-17 can carry, and in general it takes almost two Black Hawks to carry the load of a single Mi-17.” The Mi-17, known under NATO reporting name “Hip,” is sold by Rosoboronexport.

While the US has been buying new Black Hawk helicopters for the Afghan Air Force, it turns out that some of a helicopter’s most pivotal duties — like carrying cargo — are performed better by Russian choppers, the inspector general found in the most recent quarterly assessment, published in May. May was also the first time a “Black Hawk was flown in an Afghanistan operation by the nascent air force,” Bloomberg News reported Thursday.

“Black Hawks do not have the lift capability” of the Mi-17s, DoD IG General Glenn Fine wrote in the assessment of US activities in Afghanistan. Bloomberg News appears to have been the first to notice the American general pointing out the Russian helicopter’s advantages over Lockheed Martin’s chopper.

In his assessment, Fine wrote that “unlike the Mi-17, Black Hawks cannot fly at high elevations and, as such, cannot operate in remote regions of Afghanistan where Mi-17s operate.”
Because of a politically motivated decision to stop buying Mi-17s in 2013, the Defense Department has started buying more Black Hawks, leaving the Russian helicopters to age. As those choppers grow older, the DoD plans to phase out all but 12 Mi-17s by 2022, down from 47 today.

But by phasing out the Russian aircraft in favor of the US aircraft, the aforementioned challenges “will become more pronounced,” according to the Pentagon’s inspector general.

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In Vietnam their M16, MRE (Meal Refuse to Exit)
In Iraq war their M4, Humvees, Abrams.
Nowadays their F35.


The thing I have noticed about Black-Hawks, is their tendency to fall out of the sky.
When the US attacked Yugoslavia, they made a big deal about moving in a lot of Black-Hawks, but didn’t actually use them.
Black-Hawks like so many of Americas modern weapons are for show, they don’t actually go.

Brother Ma

Makes sense. Yugoslavia can be mountainous. Typical American waste of resources,theft of hard- working people’s money and puff!

Miguel Redondo

Now the MIC has the perfect excuse to design a follow up to the Black Hawk which will (on paper) fly a little bit higher than Mi-17 and carry some more cargo. But will cost ten times the Mi-17 and need ten times more personnel and hours of maintenance to keep him flying.


But they will sell it as the most modern best helicopter in the world. And also made in the US of A. Which will please the Congressmen and senators from the states where production will take place. So love of new gizmos + plain old fashioned graft for the win. The fact that it will be only marginally better then a decades old Russian helicopter will not matter one bit.


Mi-17 vs Black-Hawk lol what a great comparison. Especially by Sputnik….

Assad must stay (gr8rambino)

most western military hardware is subpar compared to russian stuff nowadays

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