Nigeria has received two more Mi-35Ms from Russia.
The Nigerian Air Force announced on Monday that it had taken delivery of another two Mi-35Ms from Russia. The aircraft were received at Makurdi air base by Air Vice Marshal Abdulganiyu Olabisi, who is the chief of aircraft engineering. According to a press release, the Mi-35Ms came partially assembled and will be completely assembled in Nigeria.
Photos released by the Air Force showed the Mi-35Ms being unloaded from an Antonov transport aircraft.
After assembly, the Air Force will conduct several test flights of the Mi-35Ms and then formally induct them into service.
In a statement, the Nigerian Air Force said, “The newly delivered helicopters, which are capable of night fighting, are all brand new and are the most sophisticated in the Mi-series of helicopter gunships.”
Nigeria placed an order for 12 Mi-35Ms in 2015. The military at that time recognized the need to be able to conduct nighttime military operations. The Air Force noted, “Consequently, the delivery of the helicopter gunships would go a long way in adding impetus to the current efforts at combatting the security challenges in Benue State and other parts of the North Central Region as well as other forms of criminality facing the country.”
This delivery marks the second batch to arrive to Nigeria, following a delivery of two in December 2016. Nigerian pilots have trained in Russia with assistance from Russian personnel.
Once in service, these new Mi-35Ms will support Nigerian military operations against militants, especially Boko Haram, which is active in the country’s northeast.