Cyprus will beef up its Air fighting capabilities as the Defence Ministry proceeds with the purchase of six French light utility H145M helicopters to replace its fleet of Russian MI35s, which have been sold to Serbia.
Following the parliamentary approval of a €53 mln budget earmarked for the purchase of the French aircraft, representatives of manufacturers Airbus will be in Nicosia on Friday to seal the deal with the Defence Ministry.
The deal foresees that Cyprus has the right to order the supply of additional six helicopters of the same type.
The purchase of the French fighter choppers was put into motion after the agreement to sell eleven Russian MI 35s to Serbia.
The Russian attack helicopters were sidelined due to their high maintenance cost, as claimed by the National Guard.
The decision to replace them with French helicopters is also understood to be part of Cyprus’ switch to western weapons following sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
The new acquisition of the National Guard was presented at the international exhibition “Eurosatory 2022”, attended by Ministry of Defence officials.
The helicopter is manufactured by French Airbus and can carry a maximum load of eight Spike-ER2 missiles with the possibility of expansion.
It has Safran Arriel 2E engines, FADEC system and Helionix digital cockpit.
Its maximum take-off weight is 3.7 tonnes and can be used in many different roles.
It also incorporates the HForce combat system, which can integrate a range of weapons such as the HMP-400 (12.7 mm) artillery, FZ-231 unguided missiles and FZ-275 guided missiles (12 x 70 mm rockets), the NC-621 (20 mm) cannon, the MX-15D electro-optical targeting system and the Scorpion helmet imaging system.
The choppers shipped to the island will be modified to meet the needs of the National Guard.