Croatia is considering donating its Soviet-made Mil MI-8 helicopters to bolster Ukrainian Armed Forces, local media reported on Tuesday.
According to some reports, like one from the Jutarnji list, the Ukrainian army may receive 14 Mi-8 and Mi-8MTV helicopters if such a decision is approved by the Croatian government.
The Croatian Ministry of Defense considers the transfer of Mi-8 and Mi-8MTV helicopters a reasonable and rational decision. At the same time, the service life of helicopters ends next year. Defense Minister Mario Banozic says they will no longer be usable in a few months.
However, as they write in the publication, all helicopters are planned to be decommissioned by 2026. Croatia plans to switch to Western models of aviation, so the overhaul of helicopters is out of the question.
The Mi-8 is a Soviet-era multi-purpose helicopter developed in the early 1960s. In addition to its most common role as a transport helicopter, the Mi-8 is also used as an airborne command post, armed gunship, and reconnaissance platform.
Along with the related, more powerful Mil Mi-17, the Mi-8 is among the world’s most-produced helicopters, used by over 50 countries. As of 2015, it is the third most common operational military aircraft in the world.