On Thursday, 23rd November 2023, the Serbian authorities officially confirmed the country had acquired eleven Mi-35P attack helicopters from the Cypriot National Guard.
The purchase was disclosed to public during the official visit of Aleksandar Vučić, the President of Serbia, at Colonel-Pilot Milenko Pavlović military airfield in Batajnica that included a press conference and presentation of the new rotorcraft.
During the press conference, the Serbian president not only announced the newest purchase but also mentioned another latest acquirement of the Serbian Air Force and Air Defence (Ратно ваздухопловство и противваздухопловна одбрана Војске Србије), as well as referred to its ongoing modernization programmes. Aleksandar Vučić pointed out the purchase of two Airbus C295 medium tactical transport aircraft and Airbus H-145 light helicopters, as well as modernization of ´Orao´ ground-attack aeroplanes and ´Lasta´ trainers. All the abovementioned aircraft were presented on static display at Batajnica air base for the time of the presidential visit.
The case of the Serbian purchase of the Mil Mi-35P attack helicopters (NATO reporting name ´Hind´) from the Cypriot National Guard was opened in 2021. Negotiations between those two countries lasted for almost two years but gained momentum only in mid-2023 (click here for our article from June of 2023 for more details).
As stated by the Serbian military authorities, all the recently acquired Mi-35 helicopters are going to be modernised soon. The first stage of the upgrade includes works to be done on six rotorcraft until January next year. The remaining seven Hinds will be modernised by the end of summer of 2024. Only then, the second stage of upgrade will follow.
The recently acquired fleet of former Cypriot Mi-35 helicopters will significantly increase the capabilities of the Serbian Air Force. Until now, Serbia operated just four Hinds that were purchased from Russia in 2019. In addition, the Serbian Air Force combat rotorcraft inventory includes approximately thirty SOKO Gazelle helicopters (click here for more details).
According to the presidential statement, Serbia should also receive additional ten Airbus H-145 helicopters by September of 2024.
All photos © Министарство одбране Републике Србије / MoD Republic of Serbia. MoD press releases were used.