The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has announced that the Federal Government is making preparations to receive the delivery of 12 AH-1Z Cobra attack helicopters and other related equipment being acquired from the United States for a total cost of $997 million. Nigeria had already been certified for the sale by the US government in April 2022 and would experience no difficulty in integrating the equipment and services into its military forces upon delivery. This exemplifies the government’s continued effort to strengthen the military’s aerial combat capabilities.
Commodore Ayodele Famuyiwa, a NAF official spokesperson, said the new gear would boost the military’s ability to combat insecurity. In a statement titled “Nigeria – AH-1Z Attack Helicopter Related FMS Acquisitions” released by the United States Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the $997 million sale would better equip Nigeria to contribute to shared security objectives, promote regional stability, and build interoperability with the United States and other western partners. It will also greatly aid in achieving the security objectives of the United States and Nigeria.
The attack helicopters would be a valuable addition to military.
According to the DSCA, the sale includes Bell-made Cobras, 28 T700-401C engines (24 installed, 4 spares) made by General Electric, 2000 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems used to convert unguided missiles into precision-guided missiles, a 20-millimetre M197 machine gun, a Night Vision Cueing Display, a commercial variant of the Global Positioning System (GPS) with Standard Positioning Service, communication equipment, electronic warfare systems, AN/AVS-9. Additionally, it involves a deal of $25 million to provide the Nigerian armed forces with institutional and technical aid.
Meanwhile, many Nigerians are intrigued and have raised questions about when the helicopters would be delivered to Nigeria to help the military battle terrorists. The Defense Headquarters made a statement on the development, saying that the AH-1Z Cobra attack helicopters would be a valuable addition to military operations. Brigadier General Tukur Gusau, head of the Defense Ministry’s Information Directorate, mentioned to the press that any additional equipment would improve the military’s capabilities to conduct operations.
Federal government would do all in its power to expedite the delivery.
The NAF spokesman, on the other hand, said that he has not yet confirmed the cause for the delivery delay and cannot provide a precise clarification. He entrusted that the federal government would do all in its power to expedite the delivery of the equipment. He stressed that acquiring new helicopters is not something that can be accomplished by just going to the store. Perhaps one of the factors contributing to the delay is that it takes some time to manufacture them.
Furthermore, he reaffirmed that the government is still working to acquire and take possession of the machinery. There is also a lengthy delay between signing the deal and receiving the new aircraft. Nonetheless, the government is committed to increasing the Air Force’s operational involvement just as it has been slated. The 12 A-29 Tucano aircrafts will be supplemented by the helicopters, and the response time to help ground troops will be shortened, according to US Department of State official Andrew Strike in June 2022.
Sale will provide Nigerian armed forces with close air support.
Acquisition of the equipment would also aid the Air Force to be able to engage at low altitudes and slow airspeeds while maintaining a standoff distance beyond the opposing weapons engagement zone. Also, according to Strike, the sale will provide the Nigerian armed forces with the close air support and rapid mobility capability they require to neutralize terrorist forces, safeguard humanitarian convoys, fortify key roads, lessen troop casualties, and protect at-risk civilians neighborhoods, and lessen the likelihood of casualties among civilians.