It appears that the Nigerian Navy is in talks with the European helicopter manufacturer Airbus to purchase at-least three units of the Airbus AS565MBe Panther light utility helicopter for use on it’s naval vessels.
The report is coming on the heels of the country’s loss of an Air Force Agusta 109 helicopter which was participating in a joint arms operations with the army. It is likely that the Nigerian Navy intends to use the Panther on it’s two Hamilton class Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) which was donated to the by the United States Coast in 2013. It would primarily assist in the fight against piracy and oil smuggling plaguing the country’s coastline.
The Airbus AS565MBe Panther is multi-role medium weight utility helicopter that can be used in a variety of roles such as anti-submarine warfare, MEDEVAC, troops transport and search and rescue. The Nigerian Navy two Lynx MK89 that undertook those roles has been inoperable for many years. The Navy also operates the AS365N2 Dauphin, AgustaWestland AW109E Power amongst others.
In a related news, The Nigerian Air Force expecting to receive an Mi-35P and a Dauphin helicopter being reactivated in-country by the Aero Contractors in their facility at the Air Forces’s 115 Special Operations Group (SOG) in Port Harcourt,