The Nigerian Air Force has taken delivery of two Augusta Westland 109 Power Helicopters procured by the Federal Government to enhance its air power.
The two Helicopters along with the associated equipment and spare have arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport from Italy, a fortnight ago.
The arrival of two new attack Helicopters has jacked up the number of Aircraft 8n the NAF’s fleet to 47.
The Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja, hinted that “the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is set to induct the second batch of 2 new AgustaWestland 109 Power Attack Helicopters procured by the Federal Government as part of the fleet enhancement efforts to enable more effective and efficient employment of air power to tackle the security challenges facing the nation”.
According to the statement, “the two helicopters, along with associated equipment and spares, arrived Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja on board a Boeing 737-400 Cargolux Airline aircraft from Malpensa International Airport in Italy on 15 January 2020.
“They were received by a NAF Team, led by Air Commodore Halim Adebowale, as well as the Country Representative of Leonardo Helicopters, manufacturers of the aircraft.
NAF engineers and technicians, in collaboration with a Team from Leonardo, have commenced assembly of the helicopters preparatory to their induction into service”.
The statement added further that, “it would be recalled that the NAF had earlier received the first batch of two new Agusta 109 Power Helicopters that were inducted into the Service on 29 April 2019 during the 55th NAF Day Celebration in Abuja.
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.
“Beside 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 3 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 five years.
After induction, the two new helicopters will be deployed to theatres of operation across the country to reinforce NAF capability in the fight against insurgency and other forms of criminality”.