The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has taken delivery of another two Mi-35M attack helicopters from Russia, bringing the total delivered to four, out of twelve on order.
The two aircraft were delivered aboard an Antonov An-124-100 transport aircraft, which arrived at NAF Base Makurdi on 30 April. The helicopters are partially disassembled, with their main and tail rotors removed for transit.
“The newly delivered helicopters, which are capable of night fighting, are all brand new and are the most sophisticated in the Mi-series of helicopter gunships,” the NAF said, and will boost Nigeria’s counter-insurgency capabilities. The NAF has been conducting regular airstrikes against Boko Haram positions in the northeast of the country. It said the helicopters will go a long way in adding impetus to combatting the security challenges in Benue State and other parts of the North Central Region as well as other forms of criminality facing the country.
Nigeria’s Federal Government ordered 12 Mi-35Ms in September 2015, with the first two being delivered in December 2016, and inducted into service in April the following year. Since then, the NAF said they have been contributing significantly to the counterinsurgency and other internal security operations in the country.
Some NAF personnel have undergone training in Russia, as pilots and technicians on the Mi-35M, as part of the contract.
The Mi-35M is powered by two Klimov VK-2500 turbo-shaft engines. It has an updated navigation and avionics suite which features multi-function coloured displays and target sighting systems, including a thermal imager and laser rangefinder. Apart from the attack role, the Mi-35M can be used for landing or transporting up to 8 fully-equipped soldiers.