That is hard to fathom.
Boeing executives informed congressional staff during a meeting held in late September that the cost of a refurbished CH-47D would be in the $12 million to $14 million range, according to a person knowledgeable about the discussion but not authorized to be identified as the source of the information.
That would make an overhauled Chinook $4 million to $6 million less than what the department is currently paying for Mi-17s, according to a Pentagon document listing the prices it is paying for the Russian aircraft.
The figures also show the average cost of each new Mi-17 has increased with each successive order, from $16.4 million to $18.2 million. The Pentagon has assured Congress that the prices were "fair and reasonable."
But an internal Defense Contract Audit Agency document shows the department could not conduct a comprehensive cost comparison because Rosoboronexport wouldn't allow U.S. auditors to look at its books.
Rosoboronexport's Director General Anatoly Isaykin said in statement late last month that his agency was "completely transparent" in negotiating acceptable Mi-17 prices with the U.S., but provided no details on costs or any examples of transparency.
Last month, the Pentagon changed its mind. After reevaluating, officials decided to cut 15 copters out of the 78 they had planned to buy from Moscow.
Associated Press writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.
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