Arms Sales

Pentagon May Shop for Russian Aircraft

With the White House lifting sanctions against Russia's military exporter, orders for Russian aircraft may get a boost from a new buyer: the U.S. military. Trying to outfit Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan armies with helicopters and other fixed-wing aircraft, the U.S. has in recent years often turned to Cold War rivals, like Russia. The sellers now include Rosoboronexport, Russia's state arms dealer, which had faced sanctions for making deals with Iran. The 2011 defense-authorization bill going through Congress would require that the U.S. military consider its own helicopters when outfitting the Afghan forces. "I would love to transition this to all-Western [aircraft], as a U.S. pilot and aviator," an Air Force officer told The Wall Street Journal. "But the fact remains I need to make decisions based on what's best for the Afghans."