Ban on Pentagon-Rosoboronexport deals will not harm Russian exporters - expert

Russian Mil Mi-17V-5 helicopters will be supplied for the U.S. forces in Afghanistan even if the ban on Pentagon deals with Rosoboronexport enters into force, Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) Director Ruslan Pukhov told Interfax-AVN on Monday.

"The helicopters Russia delivers to Afghanistan for Pentagon needs are dual-use products, which may be exported as civilian goods. The Senate initiative cannot obstruct this deal," he said in commenting on U.S. media reports about the Senate's unanimous vote to ban Pentagon deals with Rosoboronexport in the Defense Spending Bill context.

"This ban is immaterial for Russian arms exports because Rosoboronexport has practically no contracts with the Pentagon. The Mi-17V-5 contract will be fulfilled. The first delivery has been made, and the second is pending," Pukhov said.

If Russia takes symmetric measures, U.S. companies may suffer the consequences of the Senate's decision, the expert presumed. "The decision may harm U.S. aircraft manufacturers that buy titanium and some other products from Russia. They may find themselves in a difficult position," Pukhov said.

Rosoboronexport and the U.S. Department of Defense struck a deal in May 2011 to deliver 21 Mi-17V-5 helicopters to Afghanistan. The contract value stood at approximately $900 million.

The 21 helicopters were successfully delivered in June, and a new contract was signed a month later under the ten-helicopter delivery option. The U.S. sources estimated the cost of the new contract at $171.4 million.

The helicopters supplied to Afghanistan have been adjusted to the tasks of the Afghan army command and the U.S. Department of Defense in the suppression of terrorist groups.

Earlier reports said it was planned to build a Russian helicopter service center in Afghanistan to provide maintenance to Mi-17, Mi-8 and Mi-35 and other models.The U.S. journal Foreign Policy said last week that the Senate had voted for banning Pentagon-Rosoboronexport deals in the context of the Defense Spending Bill. Senator John Cornyn proposed the amendment. He alleged the Russian company supplied arms to Syrian authorities.

The amendment prohibits the Pentagon from assigning funds for any contracts with Rosoboronexport in the 2013 fiscal year. The amendment will enter into force if the Defense Spending Bill is approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives and signed by the president.

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