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Pakistan Begins Receiving Advanced Attack Helicopters From Russia

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Pakistan Begins Receiving Advanced Attack Helicopters From Russia

The four Mi-35M heavy attack helicopters were ordered from Russia in 2015.

Pakistan Begins Receiving Advanced Attack Helicopters From Russia
Credit: YouTube Still Shot

The Pakistan Army Aviation Corps (PAAC) has begun receiving the Mi-35M attack helicopters ordered from Russia in 2015, according to a report by the Quawa Defense News & Analysis Group on April 10.

The report cites a video of a Mi-35M helicopter in PAAC colors flying in Pakistan and import-export logs that show the delivery of helicopter-related equipment, including ammunition, from Russian state-owned defense exporter Rosoboronexport to the Pakistan Army in early April as evidence.

Russia officially handed over four Mi-35M helicopters to PAAC already in August 2017 (See: “Pakistan Receives 4 Advanced Attack Helicopters From Russia”). “The contract was signed, we received all four cars [Mi-35Ms] and now we get new equipment,” Brigadier General Waheed Mumtaz of Pakistan’s Defense Export Promotion Organization said in Moscow at the time. However, this delivery likely took place in Russia and the actual transfer of the helicopter gunships took place at an unknown later date.

Islamabad and Moscow concluded the $153 million helicopter deal during then-Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif’s visit to Russia in June 2016. A preliminary contract was signed at the Pakistan Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi in August 2015.

As I reported elsewhere (See: “Confirmed: Pakistan Is Buying New Attack Helicopters From Russia”), the Mi-35M is ideally suited to operate in Pakistan’s difficult terrain:

The Mi-35M attack helicopter, the export version of the Mi-24 gunship, was developed by the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant and has been produced in Russia since 2005. Next to serving in the Russian military, the aircraft has been exported to Azerbaijan, Brazil, Iraq, and Venezuela.

The company website of Russian Helicopters notes that the Mi-35 is particularly suited for mountainous terrain and can be deployed “round the clock” in adverse weather conditions. The website notes that the helicopter offers “combat use of guided and unguided weapons in regular and challenging climate conditions” and is “operational for attack flights at altitudes of 10-25 m daytime and 50 m at night over land or water.”

The helicopter can be deployed for a host of different missions, including transporting up to eight paratroopers and carrying military supplies weighing up to 1,500 kg internally and 2,400 kg externally.

The Mi-35M is armed with a mounted twin-barrel GSh-23V 23 millimeter cannon and 80 and 120 millimeter rockets, as well as anti-tank guided missiles.

The Pakistan military has expressed an interested in procuring up to 20 new Mi-35M helicopters in years ahead. “Given the cost of building the necessary Mi-35M logistics and maintenance infrastructure, expanding the fleet beyond four aircraft would financially be a sound decision for the Pakistani military,” I explained in December 2016.