According to Radio Free Europe, the Pentagon has told Congress that it will stop buying Russian helicopters for forces in Afghanistan and will start buying ones made in America instead. The Department of Defense had been purchasing Mi17 helicopters from Russia, a decision that Senator Chris Murphy advocated never made sense. There has been overwhelming support in Congress to stop buying Russian helicopters for years but it was never accomplished until after Donald Trump’s election win.
Until now, the Pentagon had been using millions of tax payer dollars to purchase Russian made helicopters to aid the forces in Afghanistan.
“I’ll never understand why the U.S. government sent taxpayer money to Russia for helicopters in Afghanistan while Russia was supporting the Assad regime in Syria and invading eastern Ukraine,” Senator Murphy said on Friday.
“When the Pentagon buys helicopters, they should be made in America,” he said.
Now, the Department of Defense will begin buying Sikorsky Blackhawks instead, which are made in Senator Murphy’s home state of Connecticut.
Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro told RFE: “In the face of Russia’s attempts to undermine our foreign policy goals in the Middle East and its continuing aggression in Ukraine, it is time that the United States end its reliance on Russian-made helicopters for operations in Afghanistan.”
“We must prioritize American manufacturers and our hardworking men and women at home,” DeLauro continued.
In March, lawmakers went after the Pentagon after they made a plan to dramatically cut their spending on black hawks in the 2017 budget request. The Pentagon reportedly asked for only $976.1 million dollars for 36 Black Hawks, down from the previous year with $1.77 billion for 107 helicopters.
President-elect Donald Trump’s doctrine has been “America first” during his Presidential campaign. Advocating that the American people and government should be supporting their own businesses and products has been a huge focal point during the election season.