The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has established a new helicopter squadron to strengthen its air contingent at the country’s 3624th Air Base, located at the Erebuni airport in Yerevan, Armenia.
A statement by the press service of Russia’s Southern Military District noted, ”The Russian air contingent [in Armenia] will be strengthened with Mi-24P attack helicopters, Mi-8MT and Mi-8SMV military transport helicopters, which will be used for ground support and transportation of the [Russian] troops deployed in Armenia.”
A part of Russia’s 102nd military base located in Gyumri, the 3624th Air Base currently hosts 16 MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters that are operating under the framework of air defence agreements signed between the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), RIA Novosti reports.
The squadron personnel are currently undergoing specific training at an airbase in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, while the helicopters are scheduled to be gradually deployed at the Erebuni base throughout 2014, according to the press service.
Armenian Deputy Defence Minister Ara Nazaryan was earlier quoted by the news agency as saying that the Russian squadron would involve 18 helicopters.
Also known as Hind-F, the Mi-24P is a gunship variant of the combat proven Mi-24 attack/transport helicopter, and is fitted with a side-mounted 30-mm GSh-30K twin-barrel cannon, and anti-tank missile systems for engagement of moving armoured and slow-moving air targets.
The Mi-8MT is a flying crane version of Soviet-designed Mil Mi-8 medium twin-turbine transport helicopter, while the Mi-8SMV, also designated as Hip-J, is an airborne jamming platform fitted with the Smalta-V system, and is used to safeguard ground attack aircraft from enemy air defences.