The Nigerian presidential air fleet will soon be receiving two new AW189 VIP helicopters from Italy’s Leonardo Helicopters, while Super Tucanos and Chinese unmanned aerial vehicles will be delivered this month.
The first AW189 (registration I-RAIW, apparently serial 40968) and painted in the colours of the Nigerian Air Force’s Presidential Air Fleet was seen undergoing test flights in Italy on 2 March. Then, on 30 June, a second AW189 in Nigerian Presidential colours was seen at Venegono where Leonardo Helicopters has its Aircraft Division. The second AW189 was wearing temporary registration I-RAIL.
The Presidential Air Fleet is based at Abuja/Nnamdi Azikiwe (Nigeria) and operates two Leonardo AW139 helicopters next to a fleet of fixed wing aircraft, which includes a Cessna 550, a Falcon 900, a Boeing 737-700, two Falcon 7X jets and a Gulfstream G550.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force is expecting eight aircraft to be delivered this month, including light attack turboprops and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
This is according to the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, who was speaking to graduated recruits of the Nigerian Air Force Basic Military Training Course 41/2020 at the Military Training Centre, NAF Base, Kaduna, on 4 June.
He disclosed that the NAF was expecting six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft from the United States of America in July and two Wing Loong Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) from China.
The remaining six Super Tucanos on order, he said, would arrive in September while two CH-3 and four CH-4 UAVs would arrive in the country before the end of 2021. These additional aircraft, he said, would no doubt boost air power employment capabilities in support of joint operations and would be a game changer in various theatre of operations.