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Pakistan Receives Four Russian Assault Helicopters

The $153 million deal had been finalised during former COAS Raheel Sharif’s visit to Moscow in 2016

Four Russian-made Mi-35M attack helicopters have been delivered to the Pakistan Army Aviation Corps (PAAC), Pakistan’s Defense Export Promotion Organization (DEPO) confirmed in a statement issued at this year’s International Military-Technical Forum (Army 2017).

The event was organised in Moscow between August 22 and 27.

Russia officially lifted an arms embargo against Pakistan, in place since the Soviet-Afghan War, in June 2014.

According to a statement issued by DEPO’s Brigadier General Waheed Mumtaz, the assault helicopters were provided by Russian Helicopters, a company which designs and manufactures modern civilian and military helicopters.

“PAAC is now getting acquainted with the new equipment. A follow-up order will be considered based on the performance of these helicopters,” he said.

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A preliminary contract in this regard had been drawn up at the Pakistan Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi in August 2015. Mumtaz said the $153 million deal was finalised during then-Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General (r) Raheel Sharif’s visit to Russia in June 2016.

Specifications of the MI-35M Attack Helicopter:

The company website of Russian Helicopters notes that the Mi-35 is particularly suited for mountainous terrains 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 meters daytime and 50 meters at night over land or water.”

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

It is unknown in what configuration the helicopters were delivered. The gunship is fitted with a mounted twin-barrel GSh-23V 23 millimeter cannon, and can also carry 80 and 120 millimeter rockets, as well as anti-tank guided missiles. The Pakistan Army is specifically looking to enhance its close-air support capability for counter-insurgency operations as well as anti-tank warfare.

The Mi-35M is a modernized variant of the Mi-24V Hind, a popular Soviet-era attack helicopter. The Mi-35M has many improvements, among them an integrated countermeasures suite and the 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.

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