The Afghan Air Force (AAF) has received the first two of ten Mi-17 helicopters, part of a $155m contract.

The Mi-17 helicopters, each costing $15m, have a service ceiling of over 16,000ft, and can transport 24 passengers or 8,800lb of cargo.

The aircraft will support the AAF in missions such as presidential and VIP transportation, medical and casualty evacuation, battlefield mobility, basic cargo airlift, reconnaissance, rotary-wing training and close air support.

The AAF, which currently has a fleet of 25 Mi-17 helicopters, will receive 56 such helicopters by 2012.

As part of the current contract, the AAF will receive the remaining eight helicopters by November 2010.