Pakistan Mil MI-35M Assault Helicopters Update: Pakistan’s Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO) has confirmed that Pakistan has received four Pakistan Mil MI-35M Assault Helicopters from Russian Helicopters.
The statement was issued by DEPO’s Brig. Gen. Waheed Mumtaz during the 2017 International Military-Technical Forum (Army 2017), which took place in Moscow between August 22 to 27.
“The contract was signed, we received all four cars [Mi-35M] and now we get new equipment,” said Mumtaz responding to a journalist (via the RIA Novosti News Agency).
Pakistan ordered four Pakistan Mil MI-35M Assault Helicopters August 2015 in a $153 million U.S. deal, which included training, spare parts and ground support equipment. It was Pakistan’s first true weapon purchase from Russia.
The Pakistan Mil MI-35M Assault Helicopters 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.
Pakistan Mil MI-35M Assault Helicopters is 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 ferry cargo of up to 2,400 kg with a sling.
In May, Rosonboronexport announced that a newer version, the Mi-35P, was also eliciting interest from overseas. The state-owned arms-trade body revealed that it was in negotiations with several countries.
Brig. Gen Mumtaz told RIA Novosti that Pakistani aircrews were acclimating to the Mi-35. However, upon the conclusion of this program, 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.
Pakistan is continuously expanding its close air-support capabilities. Apart from the Mi-35M helicopters, Pakistan is also in line to receive 15 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters, the sale of which was approved by the U.S Department of State in April 2015.