EXCLUSIVE: General Calls Iran “World’s 3rd Chopper Power”

General Calls Iran World's 3rd Chopper Power

Managing-Director of Iran’s Helicopter Renovation and Logistics Company (PANHA) General Mohammad Ali Ahmadabadi underlined the country’s capabilities in overhauling and manufacturing helicopters, saying Iran is now the world’s third chopper power.
“Based on some statistical studies, we have the world’s third powerful chopper fleet, and if underestimated, we are, at least, the fourth world power,” Ahmadabadi told FNA on Saturday, adding that the most pessimistic rankings, even those done by the West have never place Iran in the fifth stand, given the number, possibilities and the scope of operations of Iranian choppers.

“Of course we are the first in the world in terms of using different choppers as we have 13 types of western and eastern choppers flying in our country,” he said.

Ahmadabadi noted that PANHA Co. has overhauled 20 helicopters and delivered them to the Armed Forces from March to May, and added that the Company has set a record by overhauling such a number of choppers in just 2 months.

“We will soon overhaul 20 more choppers soon and we intend to repeat this number (20) several times in a year,” he said.

Ahmadabadi reminded Iran’s emphasis on asymmetric warfare, and said due to the same reason the company has mounted various arms and missile systems on the country’s military helicopters.

“We have managed to triple the firepower of the country’s helicopters,” he continued.

He also pointed to the equipment mounted on the country’s choppers, and said, “Our future helicopters will be equipped with warning systems which will be something completely new in the country.”

Ahmadabadi had also told FNA on Wednesday that Iran had designed and built three helicopters which had passed all tests and were waiting for them to be licensed for mass production, adding that one of the choppers could be equipped with radar-evading capability.

“In addition to overhauling all types of choppers, PANHA Co. has designed and built three helicopters in three different classes for the country’s future needs,” General Ahmadabadi, whose company is a subsidiary of the Iranian Defense Ministry, told FNA on Wednesday.

He said one of the helicopters had been designed to replace training jet choppers, while the second one, called Saba, had the capacity to transfer 8 passengers and had been made for marine, rescue and relief, and transportation missions.

“The third Iran-made chopper is the semi-heavy Homa helicopter. This chopper which can carry 14 people on board can be armed with various weapons systems and also equipped with a radar-evading capability,” said the General who is also a pilot himself.

He said all the three had passed tests and received flight approvals, “and we are just waiting for the final license to start their mass production”.

In early June, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan announced that PANHA had overhauled 20 helicopters and brought them back into action for the country’s different military forces.

“The experts and staff of the Defense Ministry’s Aviation Industries Organization have overhauled 20 helicopters of the Armed Forces at PANHA (helicopter manufacturing) company and we are now observing their delivery to Iran’s honorable Armed Forces,” Dehqan said in Tehran on June 2.

The minister said the 20 helicopters belonged to different categories and models, including “205, 212, 214, 412, SH, RH, CH and Mil”.

In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and attained self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems.

In November, the newly-overhauled SH3D combat helicopter came back into operation in a ceremony attended by senior Iranian commanders.

The helicopter came back into operation for the Navy after nearly 20 months of overhaul repairs and seven months of tests.


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