The defence ministry and Airbus on Friday signed the deal for supplying the Republic with six H145M light attack helicopters with the option of acquiring an additional six in the future.
“Todays development marks a new era for our Air Force…The continuous Turkish provocations and revisionism leave no room for complacency. We must have a strong deterrent to the defence and security of our country and citizens,” Defence Minister Constantinos Petrides said in his remarks at the signing ceremony.
According to the ministry’s press release, the H145M is capable of operating in demanding environments, during night and day, and will enhance the National Guard’s rapid response, and intelligence gathering capabilities. The six Η145Μ light-utility attack helicopters reportedly carry a price tag €140 million.
The minister hailed the day as important both to Cyprus’ defence and to the development of Cyprus’ military cooperation with France.
“The acquisition of the attack helicopters H145M deepens our partnership with France and marks the beginning of a new chapter in our historical and long-term relationship in the field of defence and security,” the minister said.
“We will also strengthen the existing framework of our numerous international and regional partnerships, build interoperability with other states in the region, participate in multinational exercises and activities and contribute positively to the security and stability of the region,” the minister added.
Petrides further underlined the fact that Cyprus and France maintain identical views and position on European defence and security, on the development of the European defence industry and the security of the Eastern Mediterranean.
In addition, the minister said that the “defence sector, and especially the armaments sector could not be a point of contention” referring to the excellent cooperation between his ministry and the parliament’s defence committee who contributed decisively in the effort to modernise the Republic’s defende with new armament systems and capabilities.
The French ambassador to Cyprus Salina Grenet-Catalano expressed the conviction that the agreement will strengthen security and regional stability and that it will further strengthen European defense.
The deal was signed by defence ministry permanent secretary Andreas Louca and by Airbus Helicopters Executive VP Olivier Michalon.
Notably, the Republic has this year, allocated the largest amount of resources for defence equipment in the last twenty years.
The supply of the six Airbus helicopters will take place within a five-year timeframe with the option of acquiring an additional six. The armaments plan has a ten-year timeline and seeks to ultimately establish a fleet of 12 attack helicopters.
As an airborne weapons platform, the Η145Μ has considerable differences to the Mi-35 Russian gunship which it will replace.