MOSCOW: A draft contract for the delivery of four Mi-35M 'Hind E' combat helicopters has been sent to Pakistan from Russia, a source in the Russian military and technical cooperation said on Wednesday, according to a report published on TASS news agency's website.
"Following the results of the talks held earlier on helicopters, which Pakistan would like to get from Russia, a draft contract on the delivery of four Mi-35M gunships has been sent to the Pakistani side. Pakistan is now studying the document," the source said.
According to Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, talks between Russia and Pakistan are under way regarding the delivery of helicopters. However, Rosoboronexport declined to reveal details regarding these consultations.
Last year, CEO of Russia's Rostec hi-tech corporation Sergey Chemezov said that Russia had lifted its embargo on delivery of military hardware and armaments to Pakistan and negotiations were being held on delivering helicopters.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry also said that both sides have been negotiating the delivery of helicopters and that Pakistan currently has a number of Mi-17 helicopters delivered by the United States to assist in the fight against militancy.
The Mi-35M helicopter is an exceedingly modernised version of Mi-24 (Hind) combat helicopter with new onboard equipment and avionics. It also has a more powerful engine and a different tail rotor.
Pakistan and Russia had signed a bilateral defence cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening military-to-military relations in November last year. The deal had to be followed by another ‘technical cooperation agreement’ to pave the way for sale of defence equipment to Pakistan.
Besides helicopters, Pakistan also appears interested in other Russian hardware.
Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif on Tuesday spent about 15 hours at an arms expo near Moscow that featured Russia’s cutting edge weapons and military equipment. He inspected not only the weapon systems on display but also saw their live demonstration.
“The army chief spent whole of June 16 witnessing dynamic defence expo. Highly impressive display of all types of arms, aircraft, and helis,” military spokesman Maj Gen Asim Bajwa, who accompanied the army chief on the Russia visit, tweeted.