BY ALIJO SYLVESTER, ABUJA – The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) will induct two newly acquired Mi-35M attack helicopters into its inventory to help improve the aerial component of the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations against Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East.
Chairman of Organising Committee, NAF DAY Celebrations 2017, Air Vice Marshal (AVM), Isiaka Amao announced this while briefing journalists in Abuja.
Amao said that more of the latest version of Mi-35M are expected from Russia as well as trained pilot officers to be deployed in conflict zones across the country, adding that the Air Force has expanded their scope of operations beyond the North Eastern enclaves of Boko Haram, having almost accomplished their mission in the area.
According to him; “We are focusing beyond the North-east not just because we have decimated the Boko Haram terrorists but because there are other security challenges in other parts of the country. So, we are looking at the country as a whole not just limited to the Boko Haram issue.
“The Mi-35M is an attack helicopter with precision strike and night vision capability. It is a new version of Mi-35M. It is one of the best in the world and all weather.”
“We have been able to sniff out Boko Haram from their enclaves, also in South-south, we have been able to limit the activities of the Niger Delta militants. There is also appreciable activities in the North-west and North-central where we have limited the activities of the herdsmen and cattle rustling.”
Amao further said that for the 2017 NAF Day Celebration with the theme: “Employment of Air Power for Enduring National Security,” demonstrates that the NAF’s priority focuses on consolidating the gains of Air Power deployment.
He listed series of activities slated to mark the celebration to include: medical outreach, Air weapons meet, gala night, ceremonial parade, winging of new pilots, presentation of colours to Special Operations Command, induction of the Mi-35M as well as aerial and static display.