Possible Nigerian Air Force Mi-35M combat helicopter spotted at Rostvertol

The Nigerian Air Force is set to take delivery of another Mi-35M attack helicopter from Russia, with the particular helicopter seen undergoing test flights in Rostvertol earlier this month.

The new Mi-35M, in desert camouflage scheme, destined for the Nigerian Air Force, was seen at Rostvertol’s facilities at Rostov on Don on 12 June, indicating that delivery is imminent.

Nigeria initially received two Mi-35Ms in April 2017, after placing orders in two contracts for twelve units of the Mi-35 helicopter in September 2015, which were concluded in 2014 and 2015 with Rosoboronexport JSC.

Nigeria’s Mi-35M acquisition was first revealed in September 2015 by the Nigerian Air Force spokesman Air Vice Marshal OA Adesanya on Twitter. Although in January 2019, a NAF Mi-35M attack helicopter which was providing air support to troops engaging terrorists in Damasak, Borno State crashed, killing five crew members who were on board the helicopter.

The Mi-35M weapons loadout includes Ataka-V or Shturm-V anti-tank missiles and Igla-V air-to-air missiles, 80 or 122 mm rockets and a GSh-231 23-mm twin-barrel cannon. It is powered by two Klimov VK-2500 turbo-shaft engines. It has an updated navigation and avionics suite which features multi-function colored displays and target sighting systems, including a thermal imager and laser rangefinder. Apart from the attack role, the Mi-35M can be used for landing or transporting up to 8 fully-equipped soldiers weighing 1 500 kg while up to 2 400 kg can be carried on an external sling.

The self-protection suite includes a radar warning receiver, chaff & flare dispenser, infrared jammer, and engine exhaust suppressor.

The new aircraft will be used to support Nigeria’s counter-insurgency and terrorism efforts. The country has been in turmoil for decades when Islamic terrorists began attacking civilians and military targets.

Darek Liam

Darek Liam is the North African editor for AMB, where he writes about the intersection of Technology and national security. He has been covering defense and national security issues for more than a decade, previously as African Union correspondent.