As the war against insurgency wages on, the Nigerian Air Force has acquired two Mi-35M attack helicopters from Russia.
At a media briefing in Abuja on Friday, January 6, the Chief of Air Staff Sadique Abubakar said: “The aircraft have already been delivered awaiting official induction after which they will be launched for operations.”
Premium Times reports that Mi-35M is a rugged helicopter that offers round the clock combat use of guided and unguided weapons in regular and challenging climate conditions. It is also equipped with the latest navigation suite, target sights system, laser range finder and location finder.
Abubakar said in 2016, the air force installed camera on a Beechcraft aircraft NAF 202 and NAF 204, and upgraded the camera on NAF 201.
“Furthermore, 3x EC-135 helicopters were handed over to the NAF by NNPC in March 2016. In collaboration with Aero-contractors Nigeria Ltd, 2 of the helicopters were reactivated.
“These included NAF 547 and NAF 548. Efforts are also on-going to carry out PDM/reactivation of 2x Mi-35P helicopters NAF 530 and NAF 531,” he said.
The four new Super Mushshak Trainer Aircraft acquired from Pakistan were recently inducted.
Also in 2016, over N25 billion was spent to train pilots both locally and outside Nigeria.
“The NAF in 2016 trained 869 of its personnel overseas including 101 pilots and 357 engineers and technicians, while 4,868 were trained locally including 131 pilots and 643 engineers and technicians,” the Chief of Operations of the Force, Isiaka Amao, said.
Speaking on the recent accident of one of the helicopters given to the service by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chief of Training and Operations said the service is unable give any information to the public because investigation is ongoing.
The Agusta AW 101, a medium-lift helicopter designed for military operations, crashed at the Nigerian Air Force base in Makurdi with no casualty.
It crashed two months after it was given to them the president.