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Nigerian Air Force Retires Mi-24V/P Attack Helicopters

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has initiated the retirement process for its aging Russian-made Mil Mi-24V/P attack helicopters.

The transition marks a significant step towards upgrading the NAF’s aerial arsenal to meet evolving security challenges.

Among the retired helicopters, one has been preserved as a gate guard at the 115 Special Operations Group airbase in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, serving as a testament to the NAF’s commitment to staying at the forefront of military technology.

The NAF currently operates a fleet comprising approximately seven Mil Mi-24V/P ‘Hind-E/F’ and 17 Mi-35M/P ‘Hind-E/F’ gunships. These helicopters, known as SkyHawks within the NAF, have been instrumental in various operations, supporting troops and safeguarding national security.

According to records from the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, Ukraine supplied three unspecified Mi-24 helicopters to Nigeria in 2008, followed by two Mi-24Vs in 2014.

Additionally, in 2010, Belarus exported two unspecified Mi-24s to Nigeria. The Mi-24V/P variant, while less advanced than the Mi-35M, still boasts formidable capabilities.

One incident, in particular, showcased the durability of these helicopters. NAF 260, a Mi-24V attack helicopter, sustained damage to one of its main rotor blades during an operation.

Remarkably, the skilled pilot safely returned the helicopter to base, where it was promptly repaired and returned to service.

Over the years, the NAF expanded its capabilities with the acquisition of six Mi-35P attack helicopters in 2000.

Later, in 2008, the NAF received a mix of Mi-35P and Mi-24V attack helicopters from Ukraine, discreetly boosting its fleet’s strength.

The Mi-24V/Mi-35P helicopters operate primarily within the 97 & 115 Special Operations Group (SOG), playing a crucial role in supporting NAF operations across the nation.

Since the delivery of the Mi-35M gunship in December 2016, it has become an indispensable asset, aiding in escort missions, quick responses, and close air support, particularly in the Northeast and Lake Chad Basin.

A total of five MI-35M gunships have been delivered and inducted into the Nigerian Air Force. But one of the aircraft crashed in January 2019 while providing close air support for troops of 145 Battalion in Damasak. Five servicemen on board the MI-35M died in the mishap

Despite the advantages offered by the Mi-24V and Mi-35P ‘Hind’ helicopters, the NAF recognizes the need for modernization in the face of evolving threats and technological advancements. To this end, it is considering several options for the future of its aerial fleet.

One potential avenue involves acquiring advanced helicopters like the Russian Mil Mi-35M, American Bell AH-1Z Viper, and the Turkish-made TAI T-129 ATAK helicopter. These modern platforms offer advanced sensors and weapons systems, providing the NAF with a distinct edge on the battlefield.

In addition to new acquisitions, the NAF is investing in pilot training programs to ensure that its aviators possess the skills and expertise required to operate these cutting-edge aircraft.

Collaborations with other nations and organizations for specialized training form a key component of this strategy.

In summary, the Nigerian Air Force’s decision to retire older attack helicopters reflects its commitment to maintaining a modern and capable fleet. As the NAF looks toward the future, it seeks to enhance its capabilities, protect its citizens, and secure its national interests effectively.

The retirement of the older helicopters signifies a bold step toward achieving these objectives in an ever-evolving security landscape.

This procurement represents a significant milestone for the Be-200 family, marking the first successful export contract for these versatile amphibious firefighting aircraft.
Kazim Abdul by Kazim Abdul September 4, 2023 Reading Time: 3 mins

The contract for the construction of four Be-200ES aircraft for Algeria, with an option for two additional units, was likely formalized in 2021.

In a proactive move to bolster its firefighting capabilities, the Algerian Air Force, known as Al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Jaza’iriya, has finalized an agreement to acquire four Beriev Be-200ES Altair multirole amphibious aircraft, commonly referred to as water bombers. This significant procurement decision comes in response to a series of wildfires that have plagued several regions of the country.

The journey toward this strategic acquisition began in August 2021 when the Ministry of National Defense of Algeria initiated negotiations with manufacturers of firefighting aircraft.

The selected aircraft of choice, the Russian Be-200, emerged as the ideal solution for combating wildfires effectively.

This decision was solidified when Algeria officially submitted a request for the supply of four Be-200 amphibious aircraft to the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) in August 2021.

The contract to manufacture and deliver these amphibious firefighting aircraft was subsequently awarded to Taganrog Aviation Scientific and Technical Complex, commonly known as Beriev, in February 2022. To facilitate production, Beriev ordered materials worth over 385 million rubles (approximately USD 5.4 million), which were slated for delivery between 2022 and 2023.

However, it’s essential to note that one of the contracts involves the supply of certain components from Switzerland, including engine vibration control units, cable assemblies, and accelerometers. While these components are vital for the aircraft’s functionality, they may potentially be subjected to export sanctions due to international restrictions.

Fast forward to January 2023, and the first Be-200ES aircraft, adorned with Algerian markings and registered as 7T-VPV, emerged fully painted at the Beriev manufacturing plant. This initial aircraft is expected to be primarily employed for training aircrew. A second Be-200ES is anticipated to be unveiled in March 2023.

The maiden flight of the first Be-200ES aircraft dedicated to Algeria took place on May 21, 2023. Departing from Russia, it made an intermediate landing in Tunisia before reaching its final destination in Algeria. With the registration number 7T-VPV and tail number “626” (serial number 03-13), this aircraft marks the first of its kind to serve Algeria in combating wildfires.

The contract for the construction of four Be-200ES aircraft for Algeria, with an option for two additional units, was likely formalized in 2021.

The first aircraft produced under this agreement, serial number 03-13, was originally part of a contract signed in December 2020 between the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations and Taganrog Aviation Scientific and Technical Complex. However, it was later allocated for Algeria, while the second aircraft, with serial number 03-14, intended for the Ministry of Emergency Situations, remains unfinished.

The second Be-200ES aircraft destined for Algeria, identified by factory number 03-12, is presently under construction at Taganrog Aviation Scientific and Technical Complex. Algeria anticipates the delivery of two more aircraft in 2024, with negotiations ongoing for the acquisition of two additional units.

This procurement represents a significant milestone for the Be-200 family, marking the first successful export contract for these versatile amphibious firefighting aircraft. With Algeria’s commitment to enhancing its firefighting capabilities, the Be-200ES Altair promises to play a crucial role in safeguarding the country’s landscapes and natural resources from the devastating impact of wildfires.

Meanwhile, the transport and logistics arm of the Algerian Air Force is about to be significantly enhanced with the addition of four new C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft from the United States. Algeria is also believed to be adding four Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A transports to its fleet but not much is known about this acquisition. The Algerian Air Force already operates thirteen Il-76MD and Il-76TD aircraft.

In January last year, the Algerian Air Force received its first Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules tactical transport aircraft it ordered from Lockheed Martin. The Super Hercules departed Lockheed Martin facilities in Greenville, South Carolina, and was noted by flight tracking providers on 21 January, wearing the Algerian civil registration livery and registration 7T-WJA. It was later spotted at Bangor International Airport in Maine on its delivery flight.

Subsequently, Lockheed Martin delivered the second C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to Algeria, which arrived at Boufarik air base on 24 April 2022. The C-130J (LM-100J) for Algeria is a former civil aircraft and was operated by Pallas Aviation as N5105A. It first flew in October 2017 and is the second LM-100J produced.



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