Nigerian Air Force operating Gazelle helicopters


The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is flying Gazelle helicopters as it bolsters its fleet to combat Boko Haram insurgents.

A recent Channels Television video clip showed images of the helicopters at a Nigerian Air Force installation in Lagos. It is not clear how many helicopters have been acquired or where they came from, although it appears they entered service last month. Several photos have circulated showing the helicopters, which are possibly flown by private military contractors.

The Channels Television video also showed one of the NAF’s recently refurbished AS332M1 Super Puma helicopters carrying a new 22-tube rocket pod on one of its stub wings. On February 15, Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Adesola Amosun told Radio Nigeria Network news that new aircraft weaponry was being tested and calibrated at the Owode weapons range.

The Nigerian Air Force has been acquiring new equipment recently, such as three Beechcraft King Air 350i light transport aircraft in August last year, two AgustaWestland AW101 VIP transport helicopters and refurbished Alpha Jets and C-130s. The NAF is also acquiring six Mi-35M attack helicopters and 12 armed Mi-171Sh helicopters which were ordered in August 2014.