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SOURCE: RAUNAK KUNDE / NEWS BEAT / IDRW.ORG.

The Nigerian Army is considering procuring Hindustan Aeronautics Limited manufactured Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) to equip the newly formed Army Aviation Corps as per the information that has been floated by the Nigerian defense community. Nigerian Army (NA) Aviation Corps is a new stand-alone counter-terrorism air unit that will be tasked specifically with providing aerial support to ground forces fighting the Boko Haram insurgency in the north and northeast of the country and guaranteeing long-term national security.

Nigerian Army (NA) Aviation Corps initially were interested in procuring Mi-35M attack helicopters from Russia that is already in service with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) but Nigerian Army (NA) Aviation Corps due to the United States’ new Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) law, that places sanctions on the Russian defense industry, as well as customers of Russian defense firms are now searching for other options that include HAL’s LCH that was first offered to Nigerian airforce officials who were in India for Aero India 2019 but South African Denel Aviation manufactured Rooivalk Mk 2 attack helicopter is also among frontrunner.

Nigerian Army Aviation officers at HAL’s Rotary Wing Academy

HAL’s Rotary Wing Academy has started training six Nigerian Army Aviation officers for Phase-I flying training and in the coming months, more Helicopters pilots will be trained in India as per agreements between HAL and the Nigerian Army. Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) already has been cleared for exports and was offered to Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Angola, Egypt, Indonesia, Ecuador, and Nigeria.

Four prototypes having completed the pre-induction trials and 7 limited series production (LSP) have been manufactured and 8 more LSPs will be manufactured as per the contractual schedule of FY2021-22, out of which 10 are for the IAF and the remaining five for the Indian Army. The IAF and the Indian Army together require 160 LCHs. idrw.org was not able to independently verify this new development but HAL official speaking to idrw.org of the record told that HAL is apparently in talks with some African countries that have shown interest in the LCH and he can’t indulge more information.

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