The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has introduced into service two new helicopter types with the H135 and AS365 Dauphin soon to be deployed to combat internal security threats.
The NAF said on 24 June that the helicopters would be deployed in support of Operation Sharan Daji, an internal security mission in the northeast of the country. The rotorcraft will be used for intelligence gathering in support of reducing armed robbery, cattle rustling and kidnapping in the north of Nigeria.
The NAF said it had received the helicopters from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), according to the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar. He said they are currently undergoing minor re-activation work prior to being deployed.
A photo released by the Nigerian Air Force showed three EC135 (now Airbus Helicopters H135) helicopters in Nigerian colours. It is believed that three EC135s and three AS365s are in service with the NAF, as the NNPC two years ago offered for sale three EC135T2+s and three AS365Ns in a tender that closed in October 2014. The Dauphins were built in 1982, 1983 and 1991 while the EC135s were built in 2008 and 2011, reports Air Forces Daily.
It is assumed that the NAF took delivery of the helicopters earlier this year, as the EC135s were previously seen via social media in NAF colours.