Iraq receives new Mi-17 helicopters from Russia

08:54, August 25, 2010      

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The Iraqi Defense Ministry said Tuesday it has received the third batch of Russian Mi-17 multi- purpose helicopters to support the Iraqi army.

"Today the ministry of defense received the third batch of the Mi-17 helicopters according to a contract signed earlier with Russia to develop the capabilities of the Iraqi army," Mohammed al- Askari, spokesman for the Iraqi Defense Ministry told reporters.

Askari said that the helicopters arrived at al-Taji air-base, just north of Baghdad, but he did not reveal how many helicopters have been received by his ministry.

He also said that his ministry will receive a fourth batch of Mi-17 helicopters which can "help the Iraqi army in missions of counter-terrorism, aerial support and transportation."

The Mi-17 is an improved version of the Mi-8 helicopter. It is a medium twin-turbine transport helicopter that can also act as a gunship. The helicopter is specifically designed for improved capabilities at high altitudes and in hot weather conditions.

Iraq is working to improve the capabilities of its troops ahead of the August 31 deadline for the U.S. troops to end combat operations. Washington said that about 50,000 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq to conduct support and training missions.

According to the Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA, signed between Baghdad and Washington late in 2008, the U.S. forces have pulled out of Iraqi cities and are to formally end combat operations by the end of this month, before the final withdrawal of all U.S.-troops from the country by the end of 2011.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:燕勐)

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