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Polish company overhauling Senegalese Mi-24s

A Senegalese Mi-24 in Poland.Polish company Military Aviation Plant No 1 has completed the overhaul of the first Mi-24 attack helicopter for the Senegalese Air Force.

A Senegalese delegation visited the Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze Nr 1 (WZL-1) plant last week, with test flights with Senegalese and Polish crew taking place on 12 January. Chief of Staff of the Senegalese Air Force, Brigadier General Birame Diop, was part of the delegation to visit Poland.

WZL-1 specialises in the overhaul and upgrade of Mi-2/8/14/17/24 series helicopters as well as W-3 Sokol and SH-2G helicopters. It was formed in 1945 and has been active for the last 70 years. It recently went from being a state owned enterprise to a public company.

In June last year it was announced that Senegal was upgrading its Mi-24 attack helicopters with Israeli Controp DSP-HD electro-optical systems. Controp said it had received several contracts to upgrade helicopters with the DSP-HD system, and has installed it on a United Nations Mi-17, Mi-24, Bell 407 and EC-145/H145. Controp released a photo showing a Senegalese Mi-24 fitted with the system.

The 29 kg DSP-HD comprises of a day camera, daylight spotter, laser rangefinder or laser pointer. The daylight spotter can be replaced with an infrared camera.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Senegal received two Mi-24/35Ps in 2007 after placing an order from Russia in 2005. It also received two Mi-171s from Russia. Other helicopters received in the last decade include one Bell 205, two Mi-2s and two Bell 206Ls. Other helicopters believed to be in service include one AS355 Twin Squirrel, one Gazelle and two SA 330 Pumas.

* Update: IHS Jane's Defence Weekly reported that the helicopters being overhauled in Poland are part of a batch of three ex-Slovakian Armed Forces aircraft sold to Senegal by a private Polish company and are in addition to the two Mi-35Ps acquired in 2007.