The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has taken back into service an EC-135 light helicopter after maintenance, and has completed the first local overhaul of an Mi-35P attack helicopter.
The NAF on 9 June said the overhauled Mi-35P was received in a ceremony held at the NAF’s 115 Special Operations Group (SOG) in Port Harcourt. “The Mi-35P Helicopter was one of the critical air assets being employed in the counterinsurgency operations in the Northeast before it was grounded, having become due for scheduled overhaul,” the NAF said.
Also restored to serviceability was an EC-135 which became unserviceable in March 2018 as it needed an engine change. The reactivation work on both helicopters was carried out in the hangar of 115 SOG by NAF engineers and technicians, who worked closely with some foreign technical partners.
Speaking during the acceptance ceremony, the Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command, Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao, stated that the two newly reactivated helicopters would augment the number of air assets available for counterinsurgency operations and other Internal Security operations in the country. He also expressed appreciation to the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for his vision of undertaking the Life Extension Programme (LEP) of the Mi-35P locally and for authorizing timely release of resources to achieve the objective. According to him, it was the first time the LEP of the Mi-35P Helicopter would be locally accomplished, a feat that had not only resulted in costs savings but also enhanced the capacity of NAF technical crews. He then disclosed that a similar major maintenance work had commenced on another Mi-35P.
“The work, which began on 27 February 2017, sets a new beginning for the NAF along its journey to a culture of self-reliance”, Abubakar stated.