Azerbaijan Orders 24 Mi-35M Helicopter Gunships
As Rosvertol General Director Boris Slyusar announced the firm’s 2010 trading figures, he revealed that a fall 2010 deal had been signed with Azerbaijan for 24 Mi-35 attack helicopters. That would more than double the current fleet of 12-13 Mi-24s at Baku Kala air base, and make “Hind family” helicopters the backbone of Azerbailjan’s rotary-wing force. Newer Russian attack helicopters like the Mi-28 “Night Hunter” and Ka-52 “Alligator” get a lot of attention, but the Mi-24 “Hind/Krokodil” family of heavy helicopter gunships remains broadly popular around the world, with a secondary troop transport capability that’s unique in the market. News.Az.
Azerbaijan is located on the Caspian Sea, south of Russia, north of Iran, and east of Armenia. A highly-charged territorial dispute with Armenia remains a source of tension, as does protection of the country’s significant oil & natural gas infrastructure, and the possibility of meddling from its larger neighbors north and south. The country is busy building a defense industry of its own, and has pursued close cooperation and joint ventures with a number of foreign countries including Israel, Pakistan, Russia/Ukraine, and Turkey. Beyond its helicopter forces, recent cooperation discussions have involved 9mm Czech Skorpion EVO-III submarchine guns, Russian GAZ 2975 Tigr HMMWV class vehicles, and Pakistani designs for air-dropped bombs.