On 29 April, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), displayed the first two new A109 Power helicopters during its 55th-anniversary celebrations, which began on the 27th. The Agusta A109 Power helicopters, which arrived in April, were fitted with rocket and gun pods.
Nigeria has placed two more orders from Italy’s Leonardo Helicopters. Both helicopters are expected to be used in the ongoing conflict against Boko Haram terrorists in the Northeast of Nigeria.
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar said that the NAF had grown in size, spread, and equipment to fulfill its obligation of protecting and defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria from the air.
“We have also continued to build upon the foundations laid by our noble predecessors by reactivating several aircraft that were hitherto grounded; acquired and inducted various platforms into service and increased the strength of Service personnel by 7 500 airmen/airwomen and 400 officers. Additionally, 2 new commands and 2 staff branches were established to meet the evolving security challenges we are faced with”, he said.
“Furthermore, the gap between force projection and force protection capability has been substantially bridged with the training of more than 1 000 Special Forces. This personnel has been deployed as part of the Base Defence forces to deal with the threat to our bases and to support Internal Security Operations in various troubled spots across the country, especially in the North East, North Central and North West, respectively.” Paramount Marauder vehicles recently delivered from South Africa were displayed by Nigerian Air Force personnel.
The NAF will be soon taking delivery of two new A109 Power, one Mi-35M and one AW139 helicopter, as well as 12 Super Tucano light attack/trainer turboprops. The Super Tucanos will be delivered in 2022. The NAF within the last three years has taken delivery of 16 brand new aircraft (10 Super Mushshak, four Mi-35M, and two Bell 412 helicopters).
In addition to new aircraft, the NAF has been reactivating grounded aircraft. The service is progressing with restoring a third EC 135 helicopter to airworthiness. It was handed over to the NAF by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Completion of the work will bring to 15 the number of previously unserviceable aircraft that have been reactivated in the last four years.
Most of these reactivations as well as the ongoing Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) on various aircraft types, including two C-130H Hercules, three Alpha Jets and three L-39ZA aircraft, are being done in-country.