Cyprus will be receiving the first of six H145M attack helicopters by this summer, after the German Chancery greenlit the transfer, it was reported on Thursday.
According to state broadcaster CyBC, delivery of the attack helicopters – following a deal signed last June between the defence ministry and manufacturers Airbus – was subject to the approval of the German federal government.
Airbus is a multinational armaments manufacturer.
The decision constitutes a lifting of the German embargo on the transfer of offensive weapons to non-Nato countries, CyBC said.
Citing sources, CyBC reported that the first batch of six choppers was expected to be delivered by end of spring or late summer, with the second batch of six helicopters arriving next year.
Foreign media reports said the German parliament’s defence committee were informed about the decision on Monday, citing news magazine Der Spiegel.
The opposition Left Party slammed Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition government for approving controversial weapons deals, stoking arms races, and fuelling conflicts around the world.
“The only beneficiary of this policy is the German weapons industry,” the party said in a statement.
According to an earlier defence ministry press release, the H145M light-utility helicopter can operate at all hours. It can be used for combat operations, transport, or surveillance missions.
The value of the deal with Airbus was not disclosed; through earlier reports said the six helicopters carried a price tag of €140 million.
As an airborne weapons platform, the Η145Μ has considerable differences to the Mi-35 Russian gunship which it will replace.
Military sources in Cyprus spoke of a significant boost to the National Guard’s capabilities.
The same sources also told CyBC that Cyprus has put in an order for additional offensive weapons systems from the United States. They said the systems in question, worth several millions of euro, would be delivered by the end of the year.
Their purchase has already been given the nod by the cabinet, and all that remains is for parliament to agree.