Murphy's Law: No Free Lunch in Cyprus


June 16, 2007: Back in 2001, Cyprus (the Greek part) bought twelve Mi-35 gunships from Russia. One has since crashed, and the Cypriotes are now claiming that only one of the eleven remaining helicopters is flyable and it's the fault of the Russians. The Cypriotes claimed that the user manuals were only available in Russian, and that spare parts are hard to get. Russia responded by pointing out that all the ID tags in the helicopters were in English, as was all the documentation. Apparently the Cypriotes were not buying enough spare parts, and were not maintaining the helicopters according to recommended standards. For example, the Russians estimated that about $1.8 million a year be spent on maintaining each helicopter. The Cypriotes were spending less than tenth of that.

The Mi35 is the export version of the late model Mi24. This is a twelve ton helicopter gunship that also has a cargo area that can hold up to eight people, or four stretchers. The Mi24 can carry rockets, missiles bombs and automatic cannon. It is used by over thirty countries, and has a pretty good reputation for reliability. The design is based on the earlier Mi-8 transport helicopter.


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