Nigerian army bolsters air capacity with two new helicopters

By Camillus Eboh

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria's army has taken delivery of two "Huey" helicopters, a spokesperson said on Friday, to strengthen its ability to provide air cover for troops battling insecurity across the country.

Army spokesperson Major-General Onyema Nwachukwu said in a statement that it received the first batch of two Bell UH-1H "Huey" helicopters, each equipped with advanced sensors to conduct various missions including reconnaissance, rescue and medical evacuations.

The delivery marks the start of the Nigerian Army aviation wing that will provide air support for ground operations, Nwachukwu said.

Nigeria has ramped up military spending in recent years as it struggles to contain attacks and kidnappings in its northwest, a 15-year insurgency in the northeast and sectarian clashes in the central region.

In 2021, Nigeria received 12 American-made A-29 Super Tucano light attack planes to fight insurgents.

It currently has pending deliveries for 24 M-346 attack aircraft, 12 Agusta 109 Trekker multi-role helicopters and Chinese-made Wing Loong II drones.

(Writing by Elisha Bala-Gbogbo)