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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Kazakhstan Receives Four Mi-35Ms from Russia

Kazakh Mi-35M "04." Source: Kazakh Ministry of Defense

The Kazakh Ministry of Defense confirmed on January 26, 2017, that it received a shipment of Mi-35Ms from Russia and put them into service. The press release noted that the four helicopters have been deployed to southern Kazakhstan.

A series of images taken by journalist Gregory Bedenko (and later included in the Ministry of Defense press release) shows the helicopters at a helicopter airfield (wikimapia) in Almaty.

The confirmation of the delivery of all four helicopters comes over a month after images began appearing online showing several of the helicopters at Almaty International Airport. On December 21, 2016, Defense Minister Saken Zhasuzakov was pictured inspecting one Mi-35M ("04"); the total number delivered could be inferred but not confirmed at that time.

Reportedly, the helicopters were transferred in November 2016, from Rostvertol, in Rostov-on-Don. They arrived disassembled and were reassembled at the 405th Aircraft Repair plant, which is adjacent to Almaty International Airport.

Kazakhstan placed the order for four Mi-35Ms in 2015, though the value of the contract is unclear. At Russia's Army-2016 military exhibition, Kazakh Deputy Defense Minister Okas Saparov told Sputnik that Astana would reach another contract with Moscow regarding the supply of four additional Mi-35Ms.

Russian Helicopters, which is part of Rostec, announced on January 11, 2017, that the two sides had agreed to a deal for four Mi-35Ms, at unspecified price. These four are slated for delivery some time in 2018.

The Russian Helicopters statement noted, "The supplies of the Mi-35Ms, produced at PJSC Rostvertol, are part of strategic cooperation between the two countries and are aimed at gradual replacement of the current military helicopter fleet in Kazakhstan with modern rotorcraft."

In addition to the Mi-35Ms, Kazakhstan has recently taken delivery of two Su-30SM fighter jets and two Mi-171Sh helicopters.

Update (January 30, 2017): Kazakhstan's Mi-35Ms are reported to have been deployed to the 602 airbase in Shymkent, southern Kazakhstan, which will be their permanent location. 

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