The Nigerian military will take delivery of new helicopters in the coming months.
At a visit to the 23rd Quick Response Wing base in Gembu, Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar stated that the Air Force will be receiving six helicopters in March. According to Air Marshal Abubakar, the Air Force is going to take delivery of five AW109s from Italy and one Mi-35M from Russia, which will be put to use fighting insurgent groups in the country.
Air Marshal Abubakar last month confirmed that six AW109s were on order. He referred to the helicopters as “Power Helicopter Gunships,” which may refer to the armed AW109M version, and said they had been ordered in the last three years.
In 2015, Nigeria ordered 12 Mi-35Ms from Russia. The country has since taken delivery of several batches, with two arriving in late 2016, followed by another two in 2018. The Mi-35Ms have participated in the Nigerian military campaign against the Boko Haram insurgent group.
One Mi-35M crashed earlier this year, during nighttime combat operations against Boko Haram in the vicinity of Damasak, in Borno State. Five Air Force personnel were killed as a result of the crash.