Pakistan has received four Mi-35M assault helicopters from Russia, confirmed Pakistan’s Defence Export Promotion Organisation (DEPO).
The statement was issued by DEPO’s Brigadier General Waheed Mumtaz during the 2017 International Military-Technical Forum (Army 2017), which took place in Moscow from August 22 to 27.
Flying an Mi-35E in combat is as close as you can get to flying a dragon. 4 of these have arrived in Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/ETqmyMJzqe
— Pakistan Defence (@defencepk) August 28, 2017
“The contract was signed, we received all four cars [Mi-35M] and now we get new equipment,” said Mumtaz responding to a journalist, reported the RIA Novosti news agency.
Pakistan ordered four Mi-35Ms helicopters in August 2015 of worth $153 million. The deal included training, spare parts and ground support equipment. It is the first true weapon purchase of Pakistan from Russia.
The Mi-35M is a modernized variant of the Mi-24V Hind, a popular Soviet-era attack helicopter based on the ubiquitous Mil Mi-8/17 Hip transport helicopter platform. As a result, the Mi-35M encompasses many improvements, among them an integrated countermeasures suite and ability to deploy guided weapons.
Powered by two TV3-117VMA or VK-2500 turboshaft engines, the Mi-35M can deploy anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), guided and laser-guided rockets and gun-pods. Besides its two aircrew, the Mi-35M can also carry eight armed personnel in its cabin and transport cargo of up to 2,400 kg with a sling.
Brig Gen Mumtaz told RIA Novosti that Pakistani aircrews were acclimating to the Mi-35. However, upon the conclusion of this programme, Pakistan will examine the notion of procuring other Russian weapons, be it additional helicopters or armoured, aviation and naval systems.
In 2015, IHS Jane’s had reported that Pakistan was interested in expanding its Mi-35 order – it aimed to procure up to 20 Mi-35s in the coming years. Pakistan was also negotiating with Rostec for a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) centre to fully support its Mi-17/171 and Mi-35 helicopters.