NAF Acquires Attack Helicopters
…. Provides Intelligence Missions to Counter-Insurgency
The Nigerian Airforce (NAF) has acquired two Mi-35M attack helicopter to fight terrorists and criminal gangs. The Mi-35M is a rugged helicopter that offers round the clock combat use of guided and unguided weapons in regular and challenging climate conditions which is equipped with the latest navigation suite, target sights system, laser range finder and location finder.
This was disclosed by Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao, Director of Training and Operation of the Nigerian Airforce at a media briefing in Abuja. The Media Briefing which was hosted by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar was to highlight major activities last year.
AVM Amao said that the achievements of NAF in 2016 covered improvement in platforms and operational capabilities, infrastructural development, training and professionalism.
He said “some of the major achievements of the NAF from January to December 2016 include the Acquisition of 2x Mi-35M helicopter with capabilities for night operations; acquisition of additional 2 new DA-40; reactivation of ATR-42 NAF 931; acquisition of A-Jet NAF 478 in addition to the operable 7 A-Jet ac fleet; induction of Super Mushshak ac (SMK) into the NAF inventory as a primary trainer; and induction of 3x EC-135 helicopters handed over to the NAF by NNPC in Mar 16”
Amao also disclosed that NAF provided most of the surveillance and intelligence activities towards the success of the counter-insurgency campaigns in the North-East and other special missions in the country.
He stated that “in the year 2016, 62 per cent of Intelligence missions were conducted not only to determine the location of abducted Nigerians but to also provide battle field situational awareness for the land forces. “
Speaking further, AVM Amao added that many liaison/logistics and re-supply sorties were flown to move large volume of materials in support of the Land Component’s advance into Sambisa. These include ammunition, water, tyres and other stores to staging areas in support of Op Crackdown.
He said that “CAS, logistics resupply and ISR missions aimed at dislodging the BHTs from their enclaves were further conducted in sustenance of the offensive operations on the ground.
“Additionally, MEDEVAC and CASEVAC were conducted in support of the surface forces. In the beginning of Jun 16, the Air Component’s efforts were geared towards consolidating the successes achieved during NA OP CRACK DOWN. Considerable number of AR and some AI, CAS and CAP sorties were flown to further degrade BHTs capabilities. These missions were conducted in Northern Borno and the Sambisa general area.”