Serbia is looking to buy a used and aging fleet of Russian-made Mi-35P combat-transport helicopters from Cyprus, according to local media.
According to Cyprus Mail, citing Cypriot newspaper Politis, Serbia’s defense ministry has not confirmed nor denied that a potential sale is on the table. Sources claim that the deal could have a value of 150 to 300 million euros ($176-353 million).
The purchase will reportedly include 11 Cyprus National Guard Mi-35P units. After the sale, the Cypriot government would acquire a new generation of combat helicopters in a 10-year road map.
Cyprus Defense Ministry spokesman Christos Pieri was asked for a comment about the alleged potential sale. The spokesperson did not confirm nor deny such reports.
Pieri did mention, however, that the government of Cyprus has always had a strict “no comment” policy when it comes to concerns about arms — including sales.
However, he did confirm that Serbia had shown interest in the country’s attack helicopters and even revealed that a senior Serbian official visited Cyprus.
According to the Politis report, there are two reasons why the defense ministry of Cyprus and its military high command are in favor of selling their Russian Mi-35P fleet.
The primary reason is that the helicopters are simply out of date. Additionally, they have estimated the cost of maintaining the units for the next 10 years to be no less than €100 million.
Buying new units and selling off the old ones appears to be the better choice for the government, as its 10-year road map allegedly includes an initial purchase of six state-of-the-art choppers followed by six more over the course of the entire project.