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U.S. says it will buy Russian helicopters for Afghan military

One of the Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters purchased by Alabama-based Defense Technology Inc (DTI) is seen in Ulan Ude, Russia in this pictur
One of the Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters purchased by Alabama-based Defense Technology Inc (DTI) is seen in Ulan Ude, Russia in this pictur

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Monday it will spend $572 million to buy 30 Russian-built military helicopters that will be used by Afghan security forces.

The Mi-17 helicopters will be used by Afghanistan's National Security Forces Special Mission Wing, which supports counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and special operations missions.

The contract with Rosoboronexport, the Russian arms company, covers spare parts, test equipment and engineering support. The Pentagon said the work would be performed in Russia. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

A year ago, the Defense Department purchased a dozen of the Mi-17 aircraft from Rosoboronexport for $217.7 million, as part of a larger contract originating in 2011.

(Reporting by Charles Abbott; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

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