ISLAMABAD - Pakistan is all set take delivery of four Mi-35M Hind-E combat helicopters from Russia and talks between the two countries are in progress to cut deal for Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets.

With the Mi-35M Hind-E landmark deal, Pakistan and Russian Federation have entered into a new strategic cooperation to further deepen bilateral relations in various fields between the two countries.

“Pakistan is set to take delivery of the acquired Mi-35 Hind-E helicopters sometime this year as experts of the Army Aviation Division are busy making final technical assessments of the four helicopters”, a senior official of the Ministry of Defence told The Nation on Friday.

The official who requested not to be named also confirmed that talks are in progress with Russia to secure Su-35 fighter jets deal. The procurement of four helicopters is a maiden defence deal that materialised following a defence cooperation agreement signed by Pakistan and Russia in November 2014 which Pakistan’s Defence Ministry regards as ‘a milestone’ in defence cooperation between the two countries.

The agreement was signed by the Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shigu and Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif in Pakistan that provides multifaceted cooperation between the countries.

It provides foundation for exchange of information on politico-military issues; cooperation for promoting international security; intensification of counter-terrorism and arms control activities. It also provides strengthening collaboration in various military fields, including education, medicine, history, topography, hydrography and culture; and sharing experiences in peacekeeping operations.

According to experts, the Mi-35M Hind-E which is a comprehensive upgrade of the Mi-24V, brings to the battlefield a whole range of capabilities.

Mi-35M Hind-E is primarily designed for attack missions, and a secondary capability enabling military transport missions, the helicopter delivers superior flight performance characteristics and manoeuvrability when compared to its predecessors.

Its cockpit and vital components are protected by titanium armour, part of the reason the Hind series is referred to as the ‘flying tank’. It has new main rotors with a better aerodynamic profile. A new X-shaped tail rotor has also been incorporated, replacing the earlier three-blade rotor. The characteristic stub wings of the Hind have been shortened, but still retain their ability to carry large amounts of rockets and guided missiles. Avionics have also received a major update with the new export model of the Hind. The cockpit is now night vision capable, with new and improved Multi Functional Displays (MFD). The sensor package has received a major upgrade too, giving the helicopter the ability to engage in combat operations at any time of the day, in all weather conditions.

The turboshaft engines have been improved and are now more powerful, making the Mi-35 perfectly suitable for operations in our tribal areas and other high altitude areas of operation.

They believed that the Mi-35 will be an excellent addition to the attack helicopter fleet flown by Pakistan Army Aviation.

“With ageing AH-1 Cobras, Army Aviation is in need for more modern combat helicopters”, Dr. Fazl-ur-Rehman a Pakistani defence strategist said , adding that Mi-35 deal will serve as backbone of a more modern attack helicopter wing, and the possibility always exist for further orders in the future. According to Najam Rafique, Director Research at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad said that the troops carrying ability of the Mi-35 Hind-E can also be used in a number of ways.

“The helicopter can be used to insert Special Service Group (SSG) personnel onto dominating heights in areas of operation, from where they can provide vital surveillance on surrounding areas or provide fire cover to ground forces to manoeuver the target”.