Mi-35M: Nigeria and Mali

Nigerian Air Force Chief of Staff, Air Marshal Saddique Abubakar, revealed that his air arm has received its first two Mi-35M attack helicopters. The first delivery was made in January. A contract signed between the Nigerian government and Russian arms export monopolist Rosoboronexport in 2014 foresaw delivery of 12 Mi-35Ms. In addition, Air Marshal Abubakar noted there are ongoing efforts to overhaul two of the Nigerian Air Force’s existing Mi-35Ps.

The Mi-35M, a facelift of the popular Mi- 24 Hind proved an attractive proposition for African customers, with the first example built for Mali’s air arm seen during flight testing at the Rostvertol plant in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, in March. There is no official announcement of such a contract for delivery of attack helicopters to Mali by Rosoboronexport. In fact, the only information on the existence of agreements for Mi-35Ms to African states was first revealed in October 2016 by Yuri Demchenko, a senior manager of Rosoboronexport, who in 2016 and 2017 told the media that Russia will continue deliveries of Mi-8/Mi-17 and Mi-35M helicopters to Angola, Mali, Nigeria and Sudan.