Nigeria’s AW189 VIP helicopter arrives

The first of two new AW189 VIP helicopters from Italy’s Leonardo Helicopters for the Nigerian Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) have been received in Abuja, the country’s capital.

The first AW189 (registration number 5N-FG2) and painted in the colors of the Nigerian Air Force’s Presidential Air Fleet arrived at the Abuja Airport, Nigeria last week.

This particular helicopter was seen on 2 March undergoing test flights in Italy, while the soon-to-be-delivered second AW189 helicopter was also seen on 30 June, in Nigerian Presidential colors was seen at Leonardo’s Italian Venegono helicopter facility.

According to information acquired by Military Africa, “the AW189 represents the benchmark for luxury transportation, featuring the most stylish interior design layouts where comfort, style, and attention to detail are essential attributes.”

Interior layout of the Leonardo AW189 VIP helicopter

The AW189 is a “Super medium-sized” twin-engined helicopter powered by two General Electric CT7-2E1 turboshaft engines.

The new AW189 VIP helicopter will join 10 other fixed and rotary-wing aircraft in the presidential air fleet including a Boeing 737- 800 (Air Force One), one Gulfstream 550, one Gulfstream V (Gulfstream 500), two Falcons 7X, one Hawker Sidney 4000, two AgustaWestland AW-139 helicopters and two AgustaWestland AW-101 helicopters, at the Abuja/Nnamdi Azikiwe (Nigeria) where the Presidential Air Fleet is based.

To cut down on operational costs, the PAF in September last year offered its Hawker 4000 aircraft with registration number, 5N-FGX/: RC 066 up for sale.

The Beechcraft Hawker 4000 aircraft was used to ferry top government VIPs, the Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbanjo was also routinely seen utilizing the aircraft for high-level intra-national engagements.

In 2016, the PAF handed over a newly acquired Augusta A-101 medium-lift helicopter to the Air Force, it was lost in a crash soon afterward.

The two Falcon 7X jets are said to have been bought for $ 51.1m in 2010, while the Gulfstream 550 costs $ 53.3m.

Ekene Lionel

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