The decision by Brazil to ditch its Hind gunships by the end of 2022 came as a surprise. Claudio Lucchesi examines the factors behind the grounding of the fleet.
A bulletin from the Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira, FAB) on March 1, 2022, announced it would be deactivating its Russian-built Mil Mi-35M Hind attack helicopters by the end of this year (2022) .
In total 11 airframes are to be put into storage, with no official word about their future. One other has been handed over to the Air Force’s museum, the Museu Aeroespacial, in Rio de Janeiro.
The announcement of FAB’s Mi-35M ‘retirement’ took experts on Brazilian military aviation by surprise because FAB has a tradition of operating its combat types for decades. For instance, the Northrop F-5E Tiger II fighters, the first batches of which were received in the 1970s, are still operational, having been modernised to the M standard by Embraer and AEL Sistemas. Their withdrawal from service has only recently been announced, with the arrival of the Gripen E.