Until this week, the Harper government had been silent about the M1-17 "Hip" helicopters that were leased last year from Russia. The government still refuses to provide any details of their procurement, including how much the lease is costing Canadian taxpayers.
CBC has confirmed that Military sources have confided to them that last year the Harper Government had leased from the Russians a series of MI-17 "Hip" helicopters for "secret" missions into Afghanistan.
Defense Minister Peter McKay confirmed the story but said for reasons of National Security we cannot go into details at this time, except to say we found the Russian copters to be very robust and extremely reliable. So reliable in fact that the Harper Government starting using the M1-17 helicopters for every day missions in Afghanistan. Then why the secrecy?
NDP defense critic Jack Harris wants to know why the Russian M1-17, a very robust and reliable helicopter according to McKay and good enough for Canadian troops in Afghanistan was ruled out by the Harper government in 2006 and the contract given to the American Boeing Company.
The Russian M1-17 came with a de-icing system and cost $17 million each. Canada would pay extra to have a de-icing system installed in the Boeing Chinook helicopter. It's total cost was $80 million each. Jack Harris believes the extra $63 million per copter was the reason the Harper government kept the information "secret".
$63 million per copter?...that's one hell of a secret!!
Defense analyst Rob Huebert believes the Tories may have chosen the Boring Boeing Chinook Helicopter because of the easy of getting "spare parts"
Let's see : four Russian M1-17 copters for the price of one Boeing Chinook copters.
You do the math...it's obvious the Harper Government can't!