The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) today, took delivery of the two Mi-35M helicopter gunships that the Federal Government ordered from Russia, shortly after the Antonov aircraft, touched down on the runway at NAF Base Makurdi at exactly 12.20pm.
Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, in a statement released today, said Chief of Aircraft Engineering at NAF Headquarters, Air Vice Marshal Abdulganiyu Olabisi, received the new aircraft on behalf of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
AVM Abdulganiyu Olabisi, disclosed that the newly-acquired aircraft would, in a few days time, be assembled and taken to Kaduna where they would be officially inducted as part of the 54th NAF Day celebration.
“We are aware of the prevailing security situation in the country and the effort the federal government is making to ensure that every part of Nigeria is safe and secured. It is part of this concerted effort that the NAF is taking delivery of a second batch of two MI35M Combat helicopters from Russia.
“The helicopters in a few days from now will be assembled. We are happy that we have a team of Russian engineers who are going to assist in the reassembling of these helicopters. Thereafter, they would be taken to Kaduna where they will be officially inducted as part of the 54th NAF Day celebration. Thereafter, the helicopters will be deployed to conflict zones” he said.
The statement from the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information added;
“At the inception of the current NAF leadership in 2015, it was realized that modern Mi-helicopter gunships with night-fighting capability needed to be procured towards enhancing the operational capability of the NAF.
“Consequently, the delivery of the helicopter gunships would go a long way in adding impetus to the current efforts at combatting the security challenges in Benue State and other parts of the North Central Region as well as other forms of criminality facing the country.
“In addition, with the delivery of the additional Mi-35M helicopters, the on-going counterinsurgency operation in the Northeast has just received a boost.
“It would be recalled that the NAF took delivery of the first batch of 2 brand new Mi-35M helicopters in December 2016, following which the helicopters were inducted and had since been contributing significantly to the counterinsurgency and other Internal Security operations in the country.
“Furthermore, some NAF personnel had undergone training in Russia, as Pilots and technicians on the Mi-35M helicopters, as part of the contract.
“Sequel to the hitch-free delivery, a team of Russian and NAF technicians will now complete the assembly of the newly received helicopters in Nigeria prior to test flying.
“Thereafter, the helicopter gunships will be formally inducted into the NAF, as part of the activities to mark the 54th anniversary celebrations of the Service”.
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