As Cyprus moves to replace its now-retired fleet of Soviet-era Mil Mi-35P Hind-F gunships, it has been revealed that the nation will receive the first of an initial batch of six H145M rotorcraft from Airbus Helicopters this summer, after the transfer was recently given the green light by the German government.
This delivery update was initially reported by the state-owned Cyprus Broadcasting Service (CyBC), which stated that the deal – which was inked by the Cypriot Ministry of Defense (MOD) and Airbus on June 24, 2022 – had been approved by the German federal government. According to CyBC, while the acquisition contract was signed last June, it remained subject to approval from the German government and required the nation to lift its embargo on the transfer of offensive weapons to non-NATO member states.
As part of the deal – which is worth an estimated €140m – Cyprus will receive an initial batch of six H145Ms. The deal also included an option for a second batch of six aircraft, along with the delivery of relevant weapons systems and support equipment. During a closed-door parliamentary meeting on June 20, 2022, the Cypriot government approved the release of €53m as an advance payment, with the €140m total cost expected to be paid in instalments through to 2026.
Citing its own sources, CyBC has reported that the first batch of six helicopters is expected to be delivered this summer, with a second batch – which would constitute the six additional H145Ms that can be acquired under the contract option – would be handed over to the Cypriot National Guard next year. These light utility helicopters will be used to replace Cyprus’ ageing fleet of Mi-35P Hind-F gunships, which entered service in August 2001 and were withdrawn from operational use in December 2021 due to increasing maintenance costs and a lack of spare part availability. Cyprus is currently negotiating the sale of a number of Mi-35Ps to Serbia. While it has yet to be confirmed, it has been reported by various outlets that Serbia seeks to acquire five of the Hind-Fs from Cyprus.