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War against terrorists : Nigeria buys 12 AH-1Z viper attack helicopters, others for $1bn

The United States Department of Defence has confirmed a significant arms sale to Nigeria, involving 12 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters, to bolster the West African nation’s military capabilities.

The contract, valued at $1 billion, includes not only the state-of-the-art helicopters but also 32 mission computers provided by Northrop Grumman, with a separate contract valued at $7.7 million awarded in December.

Nigeria has been grappling with complex security challenges for years, including the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast and banditry in the northwest. This multi-pronged crisis has displaced millions and claimed countless lives, making the purchase of the helicopter, scheduled for completion in June 2024, a significant upgrade to Nigeria’s military assets.

The sale follows the US State Department’s approval in April 2022 of Nigeria’s request for the helicopters, which includes guidance systems, night vision imaging systems, and extensive training.

This military package aims to enhance Nigeria’s security infrastructure, contribute to shared security objectives, and promote regional stability. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency of the United States highlighted the importance of this sale in supporting the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a strategic partner in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The AH-1Z Viper, a multi-role attack helicopter, is designed for various missions, including reconnaissance, escort, and strike operations. This addition is part of Nigeria’s broader effort to address multiple security challenges within its borders, ranging from Islamist insurgency to widespread banditry.

Nigeria’s ongoing military procurement strategy includes acquiring m-346 attack aircraft, T-129 ATAK helicopters, Agusta 109 Trekker multi-role helicopters, and Chinese-made Wing Loong II drones, among others.


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