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Mi-35M Combat Helicopter: The Nigerian Air Force "Flying Tank"

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) operates one of the largest and most advanced helicopter gunship fleet in Africa, the Mi-35M attack helicopter is the latest addition to Nigeria's vast military helicopter fleet.

The Mi-35M (NATO reporting code:Hind E) attack helicopter is a multi-role, combat helicopter manufactured by Rostvertol, a subsidiary of Russian Helicopters. It is an export variant of the Mi-24 Hind attack helicopter.

The Mi-35M attack helicopter can be modified as an attack, ground assault, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) or transport platform.

The production of Mi-35M started in 2005. The Mi-35M is one of the most heavily armed aircraft in the world. The helicopter offers a more superior flight performance and maneuverability compared to the helicopters used by the air force of any country in West, Central and East Africa.

Only South Africa, Egypt and Algeria field superior attack helicopters.

Egypt superior attack helicopter:

Algeria:

South Africa:

Nigeria ordered 12 Mi-35M combat helicopters in 2015. The NAF received two helicopters in December 2016, while the remaining two helicopters were delivered in April 2018. Nigeria ordered additional 12 helicopters in October 2019.

Based on the Mi-24 Hind, Mi-35M combat helicopter incorporates several improvements like shortened stub wings, a new rotor system, modern avionics, upgraded turboshaft engines and a hydraulic system. The cockpit and vital components of the helicopter are heavily armoured.

The Mi-35M has a length of 21.6m, a wingspan of 6.5m and height of 6.5m. It's takeoff weight in ferry configuration is 12,000kg. It can carry eight troops or a payload of 2,400kg.

The glass cockpit of the Mi-35M accommodates two pilot in tandem configuration.

The Night Vision Goggle compatible cockpit integrates multifunction displays, redundant flight controls and state of the art avionics.

The helicopter is equipped with an OPS-24N surveillance and sighting station, a TV channel, and a GPS guided navigation system.

The chin mounted turret is armed with the twin barrel Gsh-23V 23mm cannon with 450 to 470 rounds of ammunition.

The stub wings can carry a range if weapons systems, including 9M120 Ataka V SACLOS radio guided antitank missiles, up to 80 "S-8" 80mm unguided rockets, 20 "S-13" type 122mm unguided aircraft rockets, B-8 V20A rocket pod, and 500L fuel tanks.

The countermeasures of the Mi-35M helicopter includes a SPO-15LM radar warning receiver, a laser range finder, a location finder, ASO 2V-02 chaff and flare launch system, SOEP V1A Lipa infrared jamming system and engine exhaust infrared suppressor.

The Mi-35M is powered by two TV3-117VMA or VK-2500 engines. Each engine develops a maximum thrust of 2,225shp. The engines are designed to support high altitude "Hot and High" missions.

The helicopter has five composite blades on its main rotor and three composite blades on its tail rotor.

The Mi-35M helicopter has a crew of three (pilot , copilot and gunner) and the eight troops it can carry in the cabin.

The Mi-35M helicopter is capable of operating from unprepared and poorly equipped airfields and can conduct missions in day or night conditions.

Images sourced from Pinterest.

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Mi-35M NAF Nigeria Nigerian Air Force Russian Helicopters

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