On 18 June 2022, a set of photographs originating from the second half of May 2022 was shared on the Facebook page of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and also on Ukraine Weapons Tracker, a Twitter account which records the traffic and use of weapons in Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
The pictures show eleven Mi-17V-5 helicopters in desert camouflage at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson (AZ). the helicopters are all ex Afghan Air Force (AAF) which have been rescued during the US retreat from the country in August 2021 and have since been in storage at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG).
In total, 73 of these Kazan-built helicopters were originally purchased by the United States to assist the Afghan military under a larger contract originating in 2011, but after US President Joe Biden ordered troops to withdraw from the country, only a fraction of the aircraft were able to escape, either via Tajikistan and Uzbekistan or United Arab Emirates.
The eleven Mi-17V-5 helicopters were loaded into USAF C-17A Globemaster III transport aircraft and flown to Sliac (Slovakia) where they will receive some maintenance and most probably a new coat of paint before being handed over to Ukraine. The transfer to Ukrainian Armed Forces are part of the White House’s USD 800 million aid package for the country announced in April 2022, with financing being provided from Fiscal Year 2022 special funds.
The serials of the Mi-17V-5s that are confirmed as transported to Sliac are: 703, 721, 735, 737, 739, 741, 754 and 760
More Mi-17s will follow. Scramble Magazine has knowledge that the following Mi-8/Mi-17s are at 309th AMARG:
Mi-17V-5: 706, 716, 727 and 729
Photo via Davis-Monthan Air Force Base