Russia and Slovakia two-and-a-half years can not solve a issue with the repair of helicopters Mi-17V-5, procured by the US for Afghanistan. What can turn the dispute over the contract for tens of millions of dollars were dealt with RBC.

Owned by the Ministry of defence of the Slovak company LOTN in January 2019 will hand over the Afghan Armed forces renovated the second “no Russian” Mi-17V-5, told RBC Chairman of the Board of Directors and General Director Martin Dusanic. The holding “Russian Helicopters” (part of state Corporation rostec) said that LOTN right to overhaul military transport helicopters Mi-17V-5 no.

As the US bought Russian helicopters for Afghanistan

In 2011, the US government signed a contract for the purchase of Rosoboronexport (July 2011 included in “rostec”) 63 Mi-17V-5. The transaction value was $ 1.3 billion Machine was intended for the Afghan national army .

Despite regular criticism of the Pentagon, Congress, in the fall of 2014, Russia has completed the delivery of these helicopters. The Federal service for military-technical cooperation (FSMTC) then announced that the transfer of Mi-17V-5 helicopters to Afghanistan “is part of the efforts of Russia and the United States of America in combating international terrorism.”

In December 2015, the Agency NATO support and procurement (NSPA) has announced a competition for maintenance of helicopters Mi-17V-5 in service with the Afghan national army. In “Helicopters of Russia”, told RBC that one of the conditions was that in the competition can participate only companies from NATO countries.

The contest took place in 2016. It took part LOTN, Czech aircraft repair enterprise LOM, the Lithuanian company Aviabaltika Aviation and Helisota, Bulgarian Avionams JSC and American AAL-USA. The winner LOTN, lowest offer. The company exists since 1949 and is engaged in the repair of aircraft listed on its official website.

Slovak newspaper Hospodarske Noviny noted that depending on the requirements of the contract LOTN should be repaired from ten to 36 Mi-17. Depending on the scope of works contract value could reach $ 122 million is ten times greater than annual revenue, which mainly depends on the orders of the national Ministry of defense, wrote Hospodarske Noviny.

The helicopters were purchased by the United States during the so-called Medvedev reboot, recalls chief editor of the magazine “arms Export” Andrey Frolov. Then indeed was the cooperation between Russia and the United States on Afghanistan, he said. “Helicopters were purchased at a fairly reasonable price: over 1.3 billion, more than 60 machines. They were quickly mastered in the Afghan army given the fact that they still a no, but it was the experience of maintenance and operation. And our helicopters for such conditions fit well,” he said.

What is Mi-17V-5

Mi-17V-5 — export version of the Mi-8, one of the most popular helicopters in aviation history.

The machine is designed for transportation of personnel, transportation of cargo and equipment, the landing of tactical airborne troops and reconnaissance and sabotage groups, destruction of ground objects and transporting the wounded, stated on the website of “Rosoboronexport”. The helicopter can operate around the clock.

The complex weapons of the helicopter includes rockets (up to 80 unguided aircraft rockets s-8KOM caliber 80 mm), cannons (suspended containers cannon caliber 23 mm ammunition, 250 rounds each) and small arms. The helicopter is equipped with means of protection against missiles with thermal homing, and powerful armor protection of the cabin crew.

To the Ministry of defense of Afghanistan has left 45 Mi-17V-5, to the end-user certificate (there RBC), dated September 3, 2017. The rest, according to the source RBC familiar with the negotiations on the repair of vehicles, have been lost mainly as a result of militant attacks. The document also States that the results of rendering of services in the inspection and repair of these helicopters, as well as all property obtained as a part renovated 45 helicopters will not be re-exported and transferred to other countries without the consent of Russia.

As in Slovakia started to repair the Afghan Mi-17

The maintenance organization certificate issued by the Moscow helicopter plant im. Mile company LOTN for repair of helicopters Mi-8/Mi-17, expired in 2016. Extend them failed.

Until 2016 LOTN always worked directly with the developer — a cost center to them. Mile. “Then holding the superstructure (the company “Helicopters of Russia”, the owner of 83% of MVZ im. Mile. — RBC) were forbidden to roll [the certificate]. Why should the holding company appropriates competencies that do not belong to him?” said RBC Dusanic.

In his opinion, holding “Helicopters of Russia” has no right to sell the license as it is not a developer, but only a shareholder. RBC has sent requests to the MAC and “Rosaviation” with a request to explain whether the holding company “Helicopters of Russia” the right to sell such instrument.

In accordance with the contract of “Rosoboronexport” and the Pentagon, the Russian side was to sell records and promised to assist the company that won the tender for the repair of Mi-17V-5 for Afghanistan, explains that Dusanic. “But two and a half years nothing came. There were a lot of talks and reports were drawn up, I have a closet full of these protocols already,” — said the head of the Slovak company.

To assist in the negotiations tried the Secretary General of the Ministry of transport of Slovakia Tibor Shimoni. In may 2018, he sent a letter to the Deputy Minister of transport of Russia Alexander Yurchik to help the Slovak side in the restoration of constructive engagement (the document is in RBC).

Desperate to negotiate with the “Helicopters of Russia” about support of the Afghan Mi-17V-5, the Slovak company started to repair the first helicopter. In August 2018, the Ministry of defence of the Slovak Republic announced the completion of a LOTN of overhaul and maintenance of the first Mi-17V-5 helicopters, the armament of the Afghan national army.

In Russia reacted to the renovation without her

The holding company “Helicopters of Russia” called to repair the Mi-17V-5 in Slovakia, as illegitimate. “They have no evidence of “Helicopters of Russia” and the cost center to them. Mile for the right to perform capital repair of military transport helicopters Mi-17V-5. Therefore, we do not recognize the repair, and if something happens to that helicopter, then disclaim responsibility”, — told RBC in the press service of the holding.

LOTN actions do not meet the conditions of the contract for the supply of helicopters to Afghanistan and created a “precedent illegitimate repairs,” added in the “Helicopters of Russia”. “They did this and put the Russian side before the fact”, — stressed in the press service of the holding.

Dusanic, in turn, said that the actions of the LOTN are consistent with international laws adopted by Russia. “In the tender conditions, the NSPA was spelled out two scenarios: the repair is carried out either in conjunction with the developer — a cost center to them. Mile, or the national means, according to the certificate issued by the Slovak authorities with the consent of the States”, — explained the General Director of LOTN. According to him, the company has a license to repair, issued by the Slovak authorities, said Dusanic.

“This helicopter is flying in Afghanistan and he has logged at least 100 hours”, — said General Director of LOTN.

According to the editor of the magazine “arms Export” Andrey Frolov, it is unlikely that “Helicopters of Russia” will go to court over a non-certified helicopter repair. “Practice shows that the Russian side will be limited to statements that will not be held responsible if something with the repaired helicopter is going to happen,” says Frolov.

Why to repair Mi-17 is important for NATO

The Mi-17V-5 is one of the key assets in combating terrorism in Afghanistan, it is noted in the direction of the company LOTN letter to the Director of the Agency, NATO support and procurement Peter’s Domain (the document is at RBC). “Maintaining these helicopters are fit to fly and fully functional is critical to operations,” said Domain.

At the same time, the Agency NATO support and procurement “there is an understanding and at the same time concern the fact that LOTN is facing challenges in the work with the “Rosoboronexport” as it seeks to fulfil its obligations under the contract with NSPA”, the author of the letter. “It appears that the problems stem not from “Rosoboronexport” and FSMTC,” writes Domain.

In Federal service from any comments have refused. In the “Rosoboronexport” also did not comment on this letter.

What will happen next

The question RBC, why in 2.5 years, Russia and Slovakia have been unable to resolve the issue with the certification of the repair of helicopters Mi-17V-5 “Helicopters of Russia” stated that the Russian side “have been issued all the necessary permits”.

“As far as we know, LOTN is not satisfied with the price of the contract with “Rosoboronexport” for services”, — have informed RBC in the press service of “Helicopters of Russia”.

Dusanic, said that new contracts with Rosoboronexport to sign was not planned. At LOTN c Rosoboronexport is the main contract from 2004, which is still valid, he said. Due to EU sanctions to enter into new contracts the parties can not, but to make “additions to existing contracts that were signed before the sanctions,” permitted, said Dusanic.

“So we work with the “Rosoboronexport”. The Americans also agreed”, — said the interlocutor of RBC.

The problem is not the sanctions, and that “Helicopters of Russia” put forward “unrealistic conditions”, said President of the LOTN. “Give us books, give a list of your customers — not only foreign, but also internal. Sign the intergovernmental agreement about how we will control. We’ll say what to set prices. Without our permission you can’t fix,” he complained, Dusanic.

The company will continue LOTN repairs Mi-17V-5, assured the head of the Slovak company. “After the surrender of the second and third. And without Russian. “Helicopters of Russia” we want to show cool. But the right to work according to the law, and they want the rules”, — said the President of the LOTN.