WASHINGTON - The Pentagon has notified Congress of plans to purchase more helicopters for the Afghan military from Rosoboronexport, the Russian arms dealer labeled by one US senator as "an enabler of mass murder in Syria," officials said on Wednesday.

The Pentagon ordered two Mi-17 helicopters earlier this year to replace aircraft that crashed, and it decided in recent days to exercise an option to purchase 10 more helicopters to replace aging Afghan aircraft, a Defense Department spokeswoman said.

Total value of the 12-aircraft sale, including engineering services and spare parts, is $217.7 million, the Pentagon told Republican Senator John Cornyn in response to a question.

The purchases this year are part of a larger helicopter contract the Pentagon signed in May 2011 with Rosoboronexport.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger