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Mi-24/35 Gunships to Remain Popular On Global Arms Market


MOSCOW --- The Mi-24/35 (NATO reporting name: Hind) family of gunships developed by the Mil design bureau (now a subsidiary of the Russian Helicopters holding) will remain in high demand on the global arms market in the years to come, according to a source in Russia’s defense industry. 

"The Mi-24/Mi-35M combat rotor-wing aircraft are very reliable, easy-to-maintain, and inexpensive. The gunships are supposed to have the best cost-effectiveness ration in their class. The acquisition of Mi-24 and Mi-35M helos seems to be the cheapest way to improve the land attack and close air support (CAS) capabilities of a military force. They can eliminate targets in both snow deserts and tropical forests. 

Even the upgrade of the Mil gunships is relatively inexpensive, as the Russian defense industry offers a huge number of enhancements. For instance, Israel and South Africa have developed their own programs to increase the situational awareness and firepower of Mi-24/35 combat helicopters. Hence, the gunships will remain in high demand on the global market, in particular, by financially constrained countries," the source said. 

The latest upgrade of Mi-35P [export designation of the Mi-24P gunship; P stands for Pushechny, Gun-Armed] combat helicopter has been announced by Senegal. The Air Force of the African country decided to equip its Mi-35Ps with the DSP-HD optical/infrared cameras developed by the Israeli Controp Precision Technologies company. In 2007, Senegal received two excess Mi-35P gunships supplied by Russia. 

According to the Military Balance 2016 report issued by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), there are several hundred operational Mi-24/35 helicopters in the world. 

-- Bulgaria operates 6 Mi-24V/D, 
-- Cyprus 11 Mi-35P, 
-- the Czech Republic 7 Mi-24V and 10 Mi-35, 
-- Hungary 3 Mi-24D, 6 Mi-24V, and 2 Mi-24P, 
-- Macedonia 4 Mi-24V, 
-- Poland 28 Mi-24V/D, 
-- Serbia 2 Mi-24, 
-- Armenia 7 Mi-24P, 
-- Azerbaijan 31 Mi-24 (including a batch of Super Hinds) and 24 Mi-35M, 
-- Belarus 4 Mi-24, 
-- Georgia 6 Mi-24, 
-- Kazakhstan 20 Mi-24V (some upgraded), 
-- Kyrgyzstan 2 Mi-24, 
-- Russia over 250 Mi-24V/D/P and Mi-35M, 
-- Tajikistan 4 Mi-24, 
-- Turkmenistan 10 Mi-24, 
-- Uzbekistan 29 Mi-24, 
-- Afghanistan 11 Mi-35, 
-- India 19 Mi-24/35, 
-- Indonesia 6 Mi-35P, 
-- Myanmar 12 Mi-35P, 
-- Sri Lanka 6 Mi-24P, 3 Mi-24V, and 2 Mi-35V, 
-- Vietnam 26 Mi-24, 
-- Algeria 31 Mi-24, 
-- Iraq 16 Mi-35M, 
-- Libya 3 Mi-24/35, 
-- Syria 24 Mi-25, 
-- Brazil 12 Mi-35M, 
-- Cuba 4 Mi-35, 
-- Peru 16 Mi-25 and 2 Mi-35P, 
-- Venezuela 10 Mi-35M2, 
-- Angola 22 Mi-24 and 22 Mi-35, 
-- Burkina Faso 2 Mi-35, 
-- Burundi 2 Mi-24, 
-- Chad 3 Mi-24V, 
-- Democratic Republic of Congo 4 Mi-24 and 5 Mi-24V, 
-- Equatorial Guinea 5 Mi-24V/P, 
-- Ethiopia 15 Mi-24 and 3 Mi-35, 
-- Guinea 4 Mi-24, 
-- Mali 2 Mi-24D, 
-- Namibia 2 Mi-25, 
-- Nigeria 2 Mi-24P, 4 Mi-24V, 3 Mi-35, and 2 Mi-35P, 
-- Rwanda 2 Mi-24V and 3 Mi-24P, 
-- Senegal 2 Mi-35P, 
-- Sudan 25 Mi-24, 2 Mi-24P, 7 Mi-24V, and 6 Mi-35P, and 
-- Zimbabwe 4 Mi-35 and 2 Mi-35P. 

It should be noted that the early variants of Mi-24 armed with the 12.7 mm YaKB aircraft machinegun [namely, Mi-24V and Mi-24D] are being replaced by the gun-armed modifications [Mi-24P, Mi-35, and Mi-35M]. 

The Russian Helicopters holding is actively promoting the Mi-35M gunship as the most suitable option to replace ageing Mi-24 helicopters. According to the official data provided by the Rostvertol company (a subsidiary of the Russian Helicopters; the manufacturer of Mi-35M helicopters), the Mi-35M combat rotor-wing aircraft has a normal take-off weight (NTOW) of 10,900 kg, a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 11,500 kg, a payload of 2,400 kg, an empty helicopter weight of 8,354 kg, a maximum speed of 300 km/h, a cruise speed of 240 km/h, a service ceiling of 3,150 m, a dynamic ceiling of 5,400 m, an operational range of 550 km, and a crew of 2 pilots. 

Mi-35M is armed with a GSh-23L twin cannon. The helicopter can fire 9M120 Ataka (Spiral-2) anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), Strela-B short-range air-to-air missiles (AAM), and S-8 unguided rockets. 

However, Russia’s Armed Forces are intensively phasing out ageing Mi-24 and Mi-35 gunships out of service. "Despite being a valuable combat asset, Mi-24 and Mi-35 gunships are rapidly ageing. They are suitable for counter-terroristic actions, not for full-scale conflict with high-contested areas. 

Russia’s Armed Forces are receiving Mi-28N 'Night Hunter' (Havoc-B) and Ka-52 'Alligator' (Hokum-B) well-armoured combat helicopters in order to fill the gap in CAS capability. Moreover, Mi-28Ns are supposed to be fully replaced by state-of-the-art Mi-28NMs (M stands for Upgraded, Modernizirovanny) by the 2020s. Nevertheless, Mi-24P gunships have been serving as the Army Aviation’s workhorses in the Syrian conflict," the source said. 



(Source: TASS Defense; published 29.08.2016)

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