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Why Did Iranian President Fly In Old American Helicopter Despite Having New Russian Ones?

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Why Did Iranian President Fly In Old American Helicopter Despite Having New Russian Ones?

The Ayatollah regime inherited Bell 214 from the Shahs.

More and more details are becoming known about the crash of the helicopter on which Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was flying. Thus, news agencies refuted the information that had spread the day before: that Raisi was flying on a Russian-made Mi-17 (or Mi-171) helicopter.

Russian and some Iranian media reported this. There really are Mi-17 helicopters in Iran. But the Iranian president was filmed leaving the celebration in a US-made Bell 214 helicopter. This is an enhanced version of the Bell 212 helicopter, which was in service with the Israeli Air Force for a long time, writes the “Detali” website.

The problem is that the Bell 214 helicopter is quite old. It took off for the first time in 1970, and went into production in 1972. Together with the C-130 Hercules, Phantom and F-14 aircraft, this helicopter was inherited by the Ayatollah regime from the Shah of Iran. The Shah had big plans for this helicopter, and he ordered more than 300 Bell 212 and 214 helicopters from the United States with the intention of further establishing their production in Iran. The Islamic revolution ruined these plans. Neither before nor after it were Bell 214 helicopters produced in Iran. But Iran managed to receive most of the ordered American helicopters.

The next question is how Iran managed to keep a helicopter in working condition, as it has been flying for half a century (in Iran, for 40-45 years). Here, the repair production, which was also established by the Shah, helped, and where it could not help, Russia and China lent a hand. Through them, Iran imported some spare parts that it could not reproduce itself. There have even been recorded attempts to smuggle entire helicopters of this type. Since the helicopter is civilian, such attempts did not cause much resonance.

Last question: why did the President of Iran choose to fly on an American helicopter of such a respectable age, although he had at his disposal much newer (1992) Russian-made Mi-171 helicopters? The USA, of course, is Iran’s enemy, but the Bell 214 and other American helicopters are more comfortable than Russian ones, and their noise level is much lower. There are no other explanations yet. Perhaps, at the last minute, those who were responsible for the flight regretted that instead of the Mi-17 they chose an American helicopter of the type that has been flying in the country for 45 years without control by the manufacturer.

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