The Cyprus Mail reported that the Cyprus defence ministry will replace its fleet of Russian-made Mi-35P combat-transport helicopters, in a potential deal costing anywhere from €150 million to €300 million. The cabinet recently green-lit the start of negotiations for the intended sale to Serbia of the National Guard’s 11 Mi-35P helicopters. The proposal concerns buying six choppers initially, with the option of six more later, over a 10-year period. Cyprus is keen to dispose of the helicopters as they need to be overhaul by 2022 and the country will have to pay $117 million for those works.
In 2001 Cyprus purchased 12 Russian Mi-35Ps, one of the last armaments projects implemented during the administration of Glafcos Clerides. At the time it was framed as a deterrent to a potential attempt by Turkey to provoke a military incident while Cyprus finalised its accession to the European Union. The Greek Cypriot National Guard’s 11 Mi-35Ps were overhauled in Russia in 2007 and 2008. In December 2013, Cyprus’ defence ministry and Rosoboronexport signed a contract valued at €28 million to service the Mi-35P helicopters for the second time. All Mil Mi-35P helicopters are currently airworthy and fully operational.
The National Guard of Cyprus also known as the Greek Cypriot National Guard or simply National Guard, is the military force of the Republic of Cyprus. The mission of the National Guard is to take all necessary measures for the defense of the Republic of Cyprus for the purpose of dealing with a threatened invasion or any action directed against the independence or territorial integrity of the Republic or threatening to secure the life or property of citizens of the Republic. The main threat to Cyprus comes from the presence and offensive formation of 50,000 Turkish Troops stationed in the areas of the island under the military occupation of the Republic of Turkey.
The Mil Mi-24 (NATO reporting name: Hind) is a large helicopter gunship, attack helicopter and low-capacity troop transport with room for eight passengers. It is produced by Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant and has been operated since 1972 by the Soviet Air Force and its successors, along with 48 other nations. In NATO circles, the export versions, Mi-25 and Mi-35, are denoted with a letter suffix as “Hind D” and “Hind E”. Soviet pilots called the Mi-24 the “flying tank” (letayushchiy tank), a term used historically with the famous World War II Soviet Il-2 Shturmovik armored ground attack aircraft.