Five "tank killers" from Cyprus: A powerful helicopter is arriving in Serbia

Serbia is about to reach a final agreement with Cyprus on the acquisition of the Russian-made Mi-35 combat helicopters.

Source: Novosti, R.Dragovic
Foto: shutterstock, J_K
Foto: shutterstock, J_K

According to the unofficial information of "Novosti", negotiations are underway for five aircraft that the Cypriot army owns in its air force. The first aircraft could arrive as early as this year. After this delivery, the fleet of flying "tank killers" in the Serbian Army will number a total of nine helicopters.

Negotiations with Cyprus on this business have been ongoing since 2021, and the purchase and sale of combat helicopters was also among the topics during the visit of the Cypriot Minister of Defense to Belgrade, in early December last year. Nicosia has "advertised" for sale 11 of these aircraft, and Belgrade is interested in taking over five, in a broader arrangement that would include a two-way exchange of military equipment. Cyprus has already bought 24 "Nora" howitzers and eight "Milos" light armored vehicles from Serbia, and they are also interested in Serbian rocket artillery, such as "Tamnava".

Leadership of the Serbian Armed Forces eagerly awaits final negotiations:

"With the acquisition of Cypriot Mi-35 aircraft, we would get a strong combat helicopter squadron. This is especially important as a support to the forces on the ground. It is a well-armored and powerfully armed aircraft, which is respected by the world's largest powers," the Serbian Army states.

The Mi-35 helicopter, however, is one of the reinforcements for the Serbian Air Force expected during this year. Commander of the Army and Defense Forces Lieutenant General Duško Žarković says that the procurement agenda planned for 2023 is well filled.

"We are expected to continue equipping transport aircraft, multipurpose helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, missile systems and radar equipment," says Duško Žarković.

"Also, the modernization of the MiG 29 aircraft and the P-12 and P-18 radars is in the final phase. In order to fully complete the air defense system, we have entered into the process of equipping it with radar-computer means of aerial observation and reporting," says Žarković.

This year will certainly be marked by the continuation of cooperation with the Airbus, with which it was agreed to purchase the transport aircraft "kaza" and as many as 10 multi-purpose helicopters H145M. The first aircraft for the Army of Serbia have already been completed in a factory in Germany. They will be delivered by spring, and by the beginning of next year the Air Force will have a full squadron of these aircraft at its disposal.

The most important long-term "open" project of the Serbian Air Force is the negotiations with the French Dassault Group on the acquisition of Rafale fighter jets. According to the French media, both parties have reached an agreement in principle on this deal, but no agreement on the price and delivery dynamics. The contract for the purchase of the aircraft could be concluded this year, and the army can expect the first aircraft in 2028 or 2029 at the earliest.

President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, announced the continuation of large investments in the domestic dedicated industry. However, he asked the employees of the military-industrial complex to change their attitude towards the state.

"We are looking at how to help the special industry factories in every way and invest money, but we will not flatter the workers. I will go to Kragujevac to talk with the workers of the "Zastava Armaments", but they should also know that there is no game with the state anymore'', Aleksandar Vučić said.

No company can work successfully if, on average, 700 people are not at work every day, which is the case in Kragujevac.

According to our newspaper, France has started the delivery of the Missile Transportable Anti-aérien Léger "Mistral" missile system to the Serbian Army. This short-range tool, intended for actions against targets in the air, will have the role of protecting units and troops on the ground, especially against drones. France is also expected to deliver "Thales" ground master GM-200 and GM-400 radars. These assets will be the eyes and ears of the army, with a maximum range of up to 470 kilometers. Radars detect not only enemy planes and helicopters, but also drones, cruise missiles, and even tactical missiles.

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