Nigerien military now flying Mi-171Sh helicopter

The military of Niger has taken delivery of at least two Mil Mi-171Sh assault helicopter it ordered between 2017 to 2019, in a deal worth $47 million.

Both Mi-171Sh helicopters arrived Niamey, the country’s capital on 24 February. It was transported by air with an Antonov An-124 transport aircraft along with it associating ammunition, spare parts and maintenance equipment.

The Mi-171Sh transport/attack helicopter is an upgraded variant of the Mil Mi-8 (Hip) utility helicopter, designed for transport and logistics duties. It is armed with both guided and unguided munitions.

The helicopter’s weapons suite includes precision-guided munitions, including the 9M120 Ataka and 9M114 Shturm antitank guided missiles. The Mi-171Sh is designed to carry 37 fully equipped troops, 12 casualties on the litters or 4 tons of cargo and is fit for search and rescue and casevac/medevac operations.

This will be particularly useful as the country is battling various extremist groups within it’s territory. In 2019, Nigerien pilots and technicians numbering about thirty received training on the Mi-171Sh helicopter in Russia. After that, a follow-up training will be carried out in Niger.

The Mi-171Sh helicopter will complement other aircrafts in the Nigerien Air Force inventory including some Mi-24 ‘Hind’ attack helicopter, two Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot ground attack and close air support aircraft as well as three ex-French Army Air Corps Gazelle helicopters, which were refurbished by Aerotech Group SAS in France prior to delivery and are armed with 20 mm cannons.

Ekene Lionel

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