Brazil may sell its Mi-35 helicopters to Libyan faction
According to a French website, the Brazilian Air Force is negotiating sales of Russian combat helicopters to the Libyan National Army, an anti-Islamist military group
A triangular operation involving Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and the Libyan National Army could result in the sending of Mi-35 helicopters to Libya, says the website Intelligence Online.
Purchased from Russia as part of a compensation between the two countries, 12 Mi-35 helicopters (export version of the Mi-24) were incorporated by the Brazilian Air Force in the past decade and operate in the Amazon. However, aircraft have suffered from low availability and problems with spare parts.
For this reason, the Brazilian government would be negotiating the sale of the first batch of six helicopters, which were already used by Russia. The operation would also involve Rosoboronexport, a Russian company specialized in the export of military equipment, and financed by the United Arab Emirates.
The Libyan National Army is a military organization formed in 2014 by Marshal Khalifa Haftar with the aim of overthrowing Islamist leadership in the country. Since last year, the faction has been trying to take control of the capital Tripoli after expelling Islamic groups from Bengazi, Libya’s second largest city.
Due to the complexity of the operation, it is doubtful whether this deal will end up being concluded, but it is noteworthy that the Brazilian government just concluded a strategic partnership agreement with the United Arab Emirates last week. The document cites the fact that both countries “share the common goal of promoting international peace and security, stability and prosperity for all”.
Exception in FAB inventory
The Mil Mi-35, named AH-2 Sabre, are the only attack helicopters in operation in Brazil. The 12 units cost $ 326 million in 2008 for the acquisition of the 12 units, but only received the first three helicopters in 2010 and the last ones in 2015.
They equip the Poti squadron, based in the state of Rondonia and have among their missions to watch the borders and fight drug trafficking. The version purchased by the FAB has four weapon attachment points and can carry guided anti-tank missiles and supports with 80 mm rockets. In addition to these weapons, the AH-2 can also carry a 23 mm cannon or a 7.62 mm machine gun.