Nigeria Puts New Mi-35Ms into Service

Nigeria has recently put two new Mi-35Ms ordered from Russia into service.

At the 53rd Nigerian Air Force Day Celebration, the Air Force commissioned into service the two Mi-35Ms out of an order for 12 from manufacturer Russian Helicopters. That order was placed in September 2015.

In a statement, the Air Force noted,

“The induction of newly acquired helicopter gunships will further enhance NAF operational effectiveness and capability in the fight against insurgency and other forms of criminalities in the country. The modern Mi-35M attack helicopter has night capabilities in comparison to the earlier version and also has higher performance, more endurance and it is fitted with glass cockpit to enhance situational awareness during operations. The helicopter provides fire support on the battle field and increase mobility of surface forces. Additionally, its sighting and computing allow for the precise delivery of its ordinances thereby minimising the risk of collateral damage.”

Russian officials have previously indicated the contract for 12 Mi-35Ms will be completed by 2018.

President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by Defense Minister Mansur Mohammad Dan-Ali, said the helicopters would improve the military’s combat efficiency.

The Nigerian military is currently battling Boko Haram, a jihadist group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. The Air Force has proved effective in supporting Army operations against the jihadists.

Moreover, Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar highlighted the role of the Air Force is peacekeeping operations.

The Nigerian Air Force participated earlier this year in a deployment to The Gambia, where the presence of Nigerian military troops helped put pressure on former President Yahya Jammeh to honor the results of last year’s election, which yielded a surprising success to challenger Adama Barrow.

Under the urging of the Economic Community of West African States, President Jammeh stepped down in January, in a tense but ultimately peaceful transition.

About Derek Bisaccio

Military markets analyst, covering Eurasia, Middle East, and Africa.

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