Back in 2001, Cyprus (the Greek
part) bought twelve Mi-35 gunships from Russia. One has since crashed, and the
Cypriotes are now claiming that only one of the eleven remaining helicopters is
flyable and it's the fault of the Russians. The Cypriotes claimed that the user
manuals were only available in Russian, and that spare parts are hard to get.
Russia responded by pointing out that all the ID tags in the helicopters were
in English, as was all the documentation. Apparently the Cypriotes were not
buying enough spare parts, and were not maintaining the helicopters according
to recommended standards. For example, the Russians estimated that about $1.8 million a year be spent on
maintaining each helicopter. The Cypriotes were spending less than tenth of
The Mi35 is the export version of the late model
Mi24. This is a twelve ton helicopter gunship that also has a cargo area that
can hold up to eight people, or four stretchers. The Mi24 can carry rockets,
missiles bombs and automatic cannon. It is used by over thirty countries, and
has a pretty good reputation for reliability. The design is based on the
earlier Mi-8 transport helicopter.