Procurement: Russian Gunships Head For Brazil


April 15, 2009: Brazil is buying a dozen Russian Mi-35M helicopter gunships. This came after evaluating three candidates, the two losers being the Italian A129 and the European Tiger. The Mi-35M is the export version of the most recent (the most widely produced) model of the Mi-24V. Brazil is paying $12.5 million each. The Mi-35M comes with a twin barrel 23mm autocannon. Missiles and rocket pods can be attached to the stubby wings.

The Mi-24/35 is a twelve ton helicopter gunship that also has a cargo area that can hold up to eight people, or four stretchers. The Mi-24 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. Thus the export model, the Mi-17, is also a 12 ton helicopter, but without all the gunship stuff. It can carry 2.6 tons of cargo, or up to 24 troops.

Last year, Saudi Arabia bought 150 Mi-35Ms, are paying about $20 million per helicopter, which is on the high end for these models. The Saudi helicopters came with all available accessories, maintenance contracts and the like, plus the usual bribes. Brazil hasn't got as much money to spend, and has been cracking down on the military related bribery of late. Brazil will begin receiving its Mi-35Ms later this year.



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