Cameroon has apparently received the first of two refurbished Mi-24 attack helicopters from Russia, as part of an order for six.
A Cameroonian military source told IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly that the first helicopter was received by Cameroon’s Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) in mid-February when it arrived in Douala from Russia, where it is currently being assembled.
The second is expected to arrive later this year. IHS Jane’s said the aircraft were originally expected in October 2015, but delivery was delayed as new weapons and avionics were being fitted.
Cameroonian media last year reported that the military would on 12 October receive six Mi-24s from Russia.
The two Mi-24s will be placed at the disposal of the BIR’s Operation Alpha Command, tasked with tackling Boko Haram militants in the Far North Province of Cameroon, joining two Mi-17s acquired from Russia in 2013 as well as Bell 412 and Gazelle helicopters, the latter equipped with HOT missiles.
Cameroon’s Air Force has very few combat aircraft (Mi-24s, Gazelles, Alpha Jets and Impalas), but most of these are believed to be unserviceable.
The Far North Province has been subjected to multiple attacks by Boko Haram, prompting the BIR to intervene. This is supported by the army with an armoured reconnaissance battalion and motorised infantry brigade.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Cameroon has taken delivery of a variety of new hardware over the last five years, including five Type-07 armoured personnel carriers, six Type-07P/VN-1 infantry fighting vehicles, four Z-9 helicopters and two P-108 patrol craft from China, a single OPV-54 patrol craft from Russia, two Aresa-3200 patrol craft and one CN235 transport aircraft from Spain an two Bell 412 helicopters from the United States.
In September last year it was announced that Cameroon will receive a single Insitu ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system from the United States by September this year in a deal worth $9.49 million.
In October 2014 Germany donated 60 Mercedes Wolf vehicles and 60 Unimog trucks to support the country’s fight against Boko Haram.