The Nigerian Navy has received the delivery of a brand new AW139 aircraft from Leonardo’s Helicopters in Italy after it was ordered since 2016.
The AWS aircraft which was arrived and was announced ny the Nigerian Navy’s Rear Admiral Ifeola Mohammed who is the Navy’s chief of Policy and Plans. he said that the Navy’s new aircraft acquisition is currently being inducted.
The Nigerian government had ordered four AW139 air crafts to be configured for corporate transport and search and rescue (SAR) missions in 2016 from AgustaWestland, which is now known as Leonardo Helicopters. The aircraft was seen undergoing test flights in November and December 2019 in Italy.
The company siad, “The helicopters will be operated by the Nigerian State House, the Government of River States and the Nigerian Navy”.
The Nigerian Navy presently flies an AW139 that it had gotten from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). It was gotten from them in September 2018 after it was acquired in 2007. The old AW139 aircraft was also seen in the hangar along with the new AW139 aircraft still in a partially disassembled state.
The Nigerian Navy also flies an Airbus Helicopters AS365N2 Dauphin II, a single Bell 206, and an AgustaWestland AW109E Power.
The Rear admiral also pointed out that the navy in addition to the 36 rigid inflatable boats procured, is also expecting a set of 56 this year. The Nigerian Navy is also set to commission a third locally built Seaward Defence Boat (SDB) this year as well as 12 Manta class boats. Another 24 river patrol boats will also enter service later this year.
The Nigerian Navy is making these reinforcements due to repeated piracy attacks in the Gulf of Guinea, which include 70 in 2016, 48 in 2017, 36 in 2018, 21 in 2019 and as at May there have been nine attacks.