Nigerian Air Force orders more Russian Mi-35M attack Helicopters

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Russia’s arms exporter Rosoboronexport has confirmed that additional Mil Mi-35M attack helicopters will be supplied to Nigeria this November. Two helicopters will be provided this year, with the remaining 10 to be delivered in 2017.

The supply of Mi-35Ms was mentioned last month by the Nigerian Air Force chief of air staff as he spoke to the local media. Nigeria operates about 10 Mi-24/35s including six Mi-35Ms ordered in 2014.

Apart from the Mi-35Ms, Nigeria also acquired six Mi-17s in 2014 and last year placed an order for an unknown number of Mi-17AMTSh models.

The Mi-35M is a further evolution of the Mi-24, which went into production in 2005. The helicopter is armed with a GSh-23L twin-barrel 23-mm rapid-fire cannon, Ataka ATGMs, and 80-mm unguided rockets and free-fall bombs.

The Nigerian armed forces use the Russian helicopters primarily to defend oil fields from attack by various terrorist groups operating in the Niger delta.