By Spy Uganda
RwandAir, which has been operating as Rwanda’s national airliner is no more, after it was reportedly sold to Qatar Airways at a whopping USD180M.
Sources reveal that the deal also includes Bugesera International Airport which was sold at a yet to be disclosed amount, such Qatar Airways can construct their own hangar and ground handling facilities. Our source said it was ‘a good deal’ dor both parties.
We have however learnt that Rwanda will remain with 30% control of total revenue as Qatar takes the Lion’s shares at 70%.
Our sources say, Rwanda has used this money to buy Mi-35M attack Helicopters from Russia and air defence system from China.
“Rwanda purchased two M-28 fighter planes and 4 Mi-35M Havoc attack helicopters from Russia,in anticipation of a possible foiled relations with Uganda,” our source said.
Uganda spends approximately US$483M on security per year while Rwanda is approximately spending US$96m per year on the same.
Sources say Kagame is trying to match Uganda’s military hardware Budget so that they can be well prepared for the future uncertainties.
It should be noted that relations between Rwanda and Uganda have been bitter since February when Kagame closed the borders to Uganda, after he accused officials in Kampala of allegedly plotting to oust him.
Kagame also accused Ugandans officials of fueling subversive activities like aiding and training rebels to attack Rwanda, on top of holding several Rwandans in detention without producing them in courts of law.
Shortly after closing the borders, Kagame ordered the Rwandan army to start carrying out military drills with an aim of preparing for war reportedly against Uganda.
It is not surprising therefore that he has since bought combat aircraft like the Russian Mi-35M.
The Mi-35M is a multi-role combat helicopter manufactured by Rostvertol, a subsidiary of Russian Helicopters. It is an export variant of Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter primarily designed for attack and military transport missions.
The helicopter delivers a more superior flight performance and manoeuvrability than its predecessor.
The production of Mi-35M started in 2005. The aircraft integrates modern, high-precision weaponry for destroying ground-based armoured targets and providing air support for ground missions. It can be modified as an attack, ground assault, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) or transport platform.
The Mi-35M is one of the modern combat helicopters in the Russian Air Force inventory. It is also operated by the armed forces of Venezuela, Brazil, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, and Mali.
Based on the Mi-24 Hind, the Mi-35M incorporates several improvements, including shortened stub wings, a new rotor system, modern avionics, upgraded turboshaft engines and a hydraulic system. The cockpit and vital components of the helicopter are significantly armoured.
The Mi-35M has an overall length of 21.6m, wingspan of 6.5m and height of 6.5m. Its take-off weight in ferry configuration is 12,000kg. It can carry eight troops or a payload of 2,400kg.
Cockpit and avionics of the Mi-35M
The glass cockpit of the Mi-35M accommodates two pilots in tandem configuration. The night vision goggle (NVG)-compatible cockpit integrates multi-functional displays (MFDs), redundant flight controls and state-of-the-art avionics.
The helicopter is equipped with an OPS-24N surveillance-and-sighting station, a television channel, a GPS-guided navigation system and an optional non-Russian radio station.
Hind E armament
The chin-mounted turret can be installed with the twin-barrel GSh-23V 23mm cannon with 450 to 470 rounds of ammunition. The gun can fire 3,400 to 3,600 rounds a minute. The stub wings can carry a range of weapon systems including anti-tank missiles, rocket pods/gun pods, or fuel tanks.
The helicopter can be armed with up to eight 9М114 or 9M120 Ataka-V SACLOS radio guided anti-tank missiles, up to 80 ‘S-8’ 80mm unguided rockets and 20 ‘S-13’ type 122mm unguided aircraft rockets.
The countermeasures suite of Mi-35M includes a radar warning receiver, a laser range finder and a location finder, chaff and flare launch system, infrared (IR) jamming system and engine-exhaust IR suppressor.
Mi-35M engines and performance
The Mi-35M helicopter is powered by two ТVЗ-117VМА or VK-2500 engines. Each engine develops a maximum power output of 2,200hp. The engines are designed to support high-altitude missions.
The helicopter can fly at a maximum speed of 310km/h. Its operational altitude is 5,400m. The helicopter has a normal range of 460km and can reach a maximum distance of 1,000km with full fuel load.
It can be deployed in combat missions in various geographies with high-temperature and high-altitude environments and features round-the-clock combat capabilities for conducting missions during the day and night. It is also capable of operating from unprepared and poorly equipped airfields. Watch this space for update on this story…