Afghanistan will receive 21 Mi-17 Hip military transport helicopters from Russia as part of an estimated $300m contract.

Russian envoy to Nato Dmitry Rogozin told RIA Novosti that Nato would decide on the exact delivery date some time in July.

The Mi-17 medium twin-turbine transport helicopter used by the Afghan Air Force can also act as a gunship for troop and cargo transport, rescue and evacuation missions in the fight against Taliban militants.

The air force with 25 existing Mi-17 helicopters, has plans to increase the number of such helicopters to 56 by 2012.

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