In a meeting Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has asked Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to provide Pakistan with the attack/transport Mi-35 helicopter. This meeting was held on the when Gilani was in Dushanbe to attend the (SCO meeting last month.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister has shown interest in the purchase of the Russian gunship cum transport helicopter of which more than 2,500 have been produced. He stressed to buildup the cooperation in field of defense to increase the capability of Pakistan Army to fight terrorism.

Mi-35 is one of the kind design as it can be equipped with the anti-tank missiles while still retaining capability to transport the soldiers to the battle field. Mi-35 gunship helicopter need a crew of two to operate it and it can also carry another eight armed troops in hostile area.

This capability can be very important for the Pakistan army which needs helicopter to insert the operators from the special service group behind the enemy lines while helicopters are sustaining constant small arms fire from ground. Pakistan army already operate handful of mi-8/17 transport helicopters to insert and evocate the troops from the battle zone.

In gunship role Vietnam era AH-1 Cobra helicopters are the workhorse of the Pakistan army. These helicopters are limited in numbers and showing their age as they need lots of maintenance to keep them flying.

Pakistan army has requested the United States for a new attack helicopter to meet the requirements of the counter insurgency operation in FATA, but so far USA has denied all such requests..

US has denied the request to sell the AH-64D Apache Longbow under the fear that it will upset the India which US sees as much bigger market for its defense products and its is also very reluctant to sell AH-1Z Viper as they feel that any Pakistani request could only be considered only after meeting the production schedule of the US Marines.

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