Safety of Russian planes in Afghan war questioned

Aug 8, 11:44 AM EDT

Safety of Russian planes in Afghan war questioned

Associated Press Writer

MOSCOW (AP) -- More than a year ago, the U.N. dropped the Russian air transport company Vertikal-T from its approved list of vendors after a fatal helicopter crash in Nepal.

Yet NATO continued to use helicopters owned by Vertikal-T in Afghanistan. And on July 19, one of those choppers crashed at southern Afghanistan's largest NATO base, killing 16 civilians on board.

The crash reflects a little-known reality behind NATO's military push in Afghanistan: It is relying on Russian aviators flying Soviet-design aircraft, who are clocking up lucrative contracts in a country Russian troops left two decades ago.

Aviation industry analysts say many of these contractors have bad safety records, and allege that NATO has hired some operators with questionable backgrounds through arms-length leasing deals. These same analysts say governments have outsourced crucial military contracts to little-known companies.
While working in Africa some years ago we had a Russian company giving us helecopter support, as ex aircrew I found there methods very scarry, when pointing out an oil leak from the main gearbox of a MI8 of some age ,I was told by the crew chief that this only prooved that there was still oil in it and not to worry. Shortly after that it suffered a main gearbox failier from the hover, as luck would have it no one was killed

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