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NAF to induct two new helicopters for combat operations

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) said on Saturday it would induct the second batch of two new AgustaWestland 109 Power Attack Helicopters procured by the Federal Government.

The NAF said the attack helicopters were procured by the federal government as part of the fleet enhancement efforts aimed at tackling the nation’s security challenges.

The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja.

He said the two helicopters, along with associated equipment and spares, arrived at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, aboard a Boeing 737-400 Cargolux Airline aircraft from Malpensa International Airport, Italy, on January 15.

According to him, the helicopters were received by a NAF Team, led by Air Commodore Halim Adebowale and the Country Representative of Leonardo Helicopters, manufacturers of the aircraft.

Daramola said the NAF engineers and technicians, in collaboration with a Team from Leonardo, have commenced assembly of the helicopters preparatory to their induction into service.

He recalled that the NAF had earlier received the first batch of 2 new Agusta 109 Power Helicopters that were inducted into the Service on April 29, 2019, during the 55th NAF Day Celebration in Abuja.

The NAF spokesman said: “The Service, within the last five years, has taken delivery of 21 brand new aircraft, including 10 Super Mushshak, 5 Mi-35M Helicopter Gunships, 2 Bell 412 Helicopters and 4 Agusta 109 Power Helicopters.

“Besides these, 15 additional aircraft have been ordered by the Federal Government, which include 12 Super Tucano attack aircraft and 3 JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter aircraft, in addition, the Service also took over 11 aircraft from other MDAs.

“These include three EC-135 helicopters and 3 Dauphin helicopters from NNPC, 3 Donier 228 aircraft and 2 Agusta 101 from the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF); making an unprecedented total of 47 aircraft that have either been inducted into the NAF or ordered for the Service since 2015.

“In the same vein, over 20 previously grounded aircraft have been reactivated within the past 5 years.”

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