|A NAF MI-35M in flight
The Spokeman for the Nigerian Air Force Air Commodore Adesanya O. revealed in a press statement that the Nigerian Air Force newest attack helicopter gunship the Mi-35M Hind has seen its combat debut. The helicopter gunship recorded its first attack against the Boko Haram Insurgents in Northern Nigeria this May.
The operation in which the the Mi-35M took part is part of a wider military campaign code-named OPERATION “LAFIYA DOLE”. Operation Lafiya Dole meaning ‘Peace is a Must‘ in the local Hausa dialect– is a Combined Arms operation by all the branch of the Nigerian Armed forces.
In the press briefing in May 21, the Spokesman Air commodore Adesanya who is the Director of Public Relations and Information of the Nigerian Air Force said;
“The NAF Component of Operation “LAFIYA DOLE” conducted an Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance mission in Parisu, Borno which led to serious casualty on the side of the Boko Haram insurgents.”
He also said that: “During the ISR mission, a large structure with solar panels and flags suspected to harbor high value insurgents was discovered, alongside other similar structures hidden under trees.
“Accordingly, on May 22, two attack helicopters; the Mi-17 and the newly inducted day and night, all weather gunship, Mi-35M Super Hind were scrambled to conduct strikes on the location in succession.”
He further stated that the POST-STRIKE assessment conducted by the Nigerian Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft indicated that the Boko Haram Terrorist Group sustained Maximum as the targeted area was engulfed in flame after the bombing raid.
Furthermore, He said that the ISR aircraft detected few BHT survivors running away from the scene of the raid.
Coincidentally, Nigerian Air Force gunship was also conducting another raid but this time in the Southern part of Nigeria targeting sea pirate’s oil barges and small boats used to steal and siphon oil out of the country to be sold in the black market. The operation is code-named “OPERATION DELTA SAFE”. Commenting on the raid, he further said that the attack on the oil barges was aimed at disrupting and stopping the stealing of the nations oil products.
The multirole Mi-35M attack helicopter is a comprehensive modernization of the Mi-24V. The Mi-35M was developed by the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant, For round-the-clock combat use, the Mi-35M is equipped with the latest navigation and avionics suite with multifunction coloured displays, target sights system that includes a thermal imager and TV channels, laser range finder and location finder.
The Mi-35M is distinguished by its improved construction. It is equipped with the latest Klimov-produced powerful VK-2500 turboshaft engines, fibreglass main rotor blades, main rotor head with elastomeric joints, a new swashplate and X-type tail rotor. The Mi-35M’s fuselage boasts shortened stub wings and fixed landing gear. — According to the Manufacturer