Brazil “bans” Russian Mi-35M multi-role attack helicopters

BRASILIA, ($1=5.17 Brazilian Reals)“Deactivation of the AH-2 Saber by the Brazilian Air Force”. This is shown by a text on an internal military file of the Brazilian Air Force [FAB], whose photo is distributed among Brazilian users on social networks. BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that AH-2 Saber is Brasilian used name for the Russian Mil Mi-35M attack helicopters.

Brazil "bans" Russian Mi-35M multi-role attack helicopters
Photo credit: Airway1

There is no official confirmation of the ban on Russian helicopters by the Brazilian authorities. BulgarianMilitary.com reminded that in 2010 12 Mi-35 attack helicopters entered service at Porto Velo airbase. An anonymous source claims that the first batch of Mi-35 should be deactivated on March 1, and the last on December 31, 2022. All this unconfirmed information is very strange, against the background of news from May last year that the Brazilian Air Force signed a contract with the Russians to maintain the helicopters.

Online debate

Brazilian sources say there is currently an online debate over the reasons for the drastic decision, citing a series of uncontrolled votes.

Robinson Farinazzo Casal, a former Brazilian Navy officer, airplane pilot, now a commentator for the Brazilian “Military World”, estimates that “the Russian-made Mi-35M / AH-2 Saber helicopter is one of the best ground platforms attacks currently in place. This is an improved version of the Mil Mi-24 Hind and has been successfully involved in wars around the world.”

He added that Brazil had to face many difficulties in purchasing “these helicopters”, mainly due to pressure from the US authorities on the helicopter importing company.

“In short, there was no alternative to the FAB but to start the process of deactivating Sabers. President Bolsonaro,” Farinazzo said, “must find a solution to the problem, especially after his last visit to Russia” [held on the 16th February].

Mil Mi-35M in Brazil

Recall that in 2008 Brazil signed a contract worth $ 326 million for the purchase of 12 million Mi-35M, including logistics support services and a flight simulator.

The Russian helicopter managed to win the competition, held by the Brazilian defense, in which two other participants took part: AgustaWestland AW129 Mangusta and Eurocopter Tiger. In recent years, the 12 helicopters received by the Poti Squadron [2nd / 8th GAV] have accumulated over 8,000 flight hours in late 2020 after just ten years of service.

Brazil "bans" Russian Mi-35M multi-role attack helicopters
Photo credit: Airplane pictures

Undoubtedly, this particular platform represents a huge operational advantage for Esquadrão Poti, which began operating a real attack aircraft, thus filling the operational gap that existed in the FAB before its arrival.

Developed by the Russian Mi-24 helicopter, the Mi-35M incorporates several technological innovations while retaining the main features of its predecessor, which are firepower, armor, and strength, and it is no coincidence that for this reason it was chosen by Venezuela, Serbia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Mali, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Iraq.

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