The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Monday, April 30, took delivery of two Mi-35M helicopter gunships that the federal government ordered from Russia.
Reports have it that the Antonov aircraft, which brought the new Mi-35M helicopters, touched down on the runway at NAF Base Makurdi.The Chief of Aircraft Engineering at NAF Headquarters, Abdulganiyu Olabisi, received the new aircraft on behalf of the Chief of the Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar.
Officials of the Nigeria Customs Service and the Nigeria Immigration Service were present to ensure necessary documentation. Also a combined team of NAF personnel and Russian technicians were also on hand to assist in offloading the partially assembled new helicopters, some parts of which came in crates.
According to Premium Times, 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, based on the statement by the air force.
“The air force took delivery of the first batch of two brand new Mi-35M helicopters in December 2016, following which the helicopters were inducted and had since been contributing to the counterinsurgency and other internal security operations in the country.
“Also, some NAF personnel had undergone training in Russia, as pilots and technicians on the Mi-35M helicopters, as part of the contract. Sequel to the hitch-free delivery, a team of Russian and NAF technicians will now complete the assembly of the newly received helicopters in Nigeria prior to test flying.
“Thereafter, the helicopter gunships will be formally inducted into the air force, as part of the activities to mark the 54th anniversary celebrations of the Service.
Photo credit: Real Sani Twoeffect Yawuri.