The Nigerian Air Force plans to upgrade three of its older Mi-35 helicopters to the new Mi-35P Phoenix being offered by Rosoboronexport.
A part payment of N3.3 billion ($7,970,915.91) was authorized by the Federal Government in the 2021 Appropriation Bill.
The Nigerian Air Force operates several variants of around fifteen Mi-24/35 Hind helicopter including two second-hand Mi-35P received from Belarus in 2010, two Mi-35P and one Mi24V from Ukrain in 2008 and 2014, six second-hand but modernized Mi-35P and eight Mi-35M received from Russia in 2000 and 2012-14 respectively.
Although, in January 2019, a Nigerian Air Force Mil Mi-35 crashed while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion at Damasak in Northern Borno State. The crash was attributed to technical malfunction.
Mil Mi-35P attack helicopter
Russian Helicopters stressed, that It is providing huge potential for cooperation in servicing, modernizing and renovating the fleets. African countries operate over 250 helicopters of Mi-24/35 type.
The Mi-35P features a number of novelties, as it is now being proposed as an affordable alternative for export operators wanting to upgrade their existing Mi-24D/V/P or Mi-35/P fleets.
The Mi-35P offers improved targeting and flight/navigation suite including the OPS-24N-1L, PrVK24-2 weapons control computer and KNEI-24E-1 navigation/display system.
Although, still retaining the airframe, rotor system and powerplant of the legacy Mi-24/35, as well as the original wings with large end-plates (used to support ATGM missile launchers), retractable undercarriage, and the TV3-117VMA engines rated at 2,225shp each at take-off mode.
Rosoboroexport is offering a life extension package together with the upgrade to render the upgraded Hind good for use for 40 years and 4,000 flight hours.
The OPS-24N-1L targeting suite with the PrVK-24-2 weapons computer allows the Mi-35P to use the 9M120-1 Ataka-VM ATGM with laser-beam guidance.
The old rotor system, combined with the retractable undercarriage and the TV3 117VMA engines with a take-off rating of 2,200shp, provides the Mi-35P with a better speed performance than that of the Mi-35M. Its maximum speed reaching 181kt (335km/h) compared to 162kt (300km/h) for the Mi-35M.
The Mi-35P also features the all-new PKV-8-35 digital autopilot to facilitate much better stability and controllability performance thus reducing the pilot workload.
It can be used as a gunship, and as a troop-carrying helicopter. The Mi-35P helicopter can be used in high mountains, in hot and humid climate, day and night.
In the summer 2020 tests of the upgraded Mi-35P (called Phoenix) was completed, and it went into serial production at Rostvertol in Rostov-on-Don. It can be used as a combat helicopter for destruction of tanks and other armored vehicles, as a troop-carrier, as an ambulance for transportation of two casualties and a medical attendant, and a cargo-carrier for transportation of cargoes inside the cargo cabin (1500 kg) and on external load sling (2400 kg).
The new Mi-35P has the upgraded round-the-clock surveillance-sighting system, new digital integrated flight system, advanced navigation and electronic indication system with multi-functional color displays. Installation of laser defense system and short range navigation and instrument landing system is said to be possible.
The armament suite of the basic version includes 23-mm nose flexible gun mount, S-8 rockets and suspended gun containers housing 23-mm gun. At the same time the renewed Mi-35P can incorporate a wide range of optional equipment and armament, including guided “air-to-surface” missiles, “air-to-air” missiles, aerial bombs etc. The Kalashnikov group announced in July 2021 the plans to integrate with the Mi-35P its advanced Vikhr anti-tank missile.