The Nigerian Navy has taken delivery of the first (NN410) of three new Leonardo AW-109SP GrandNew helicopters.
Nigeria ordered for three of the type in 2021, with the first delivered in January 2023, and the second is scheduled to arrive by May, while the third is slated to be delivered September 2023.
The AW-109SP GrandNew helicopter blends performance, speed, payload and operational flexibility, together with lower environmental impact. Capable of operating in the most severe conditions, it is a top-of-the-range light twin-engine multi-role helicopter, offering the highest safety through advanced navigation and situational awareness technology.
Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo visited Leonardo helicopters factory in Milan in August 2022, to inspect the three AW-109SP GrandNew ordered by the Nigerian Navy.
Last November, the first AW-109SP GrandNew for the Nigeria Navy was spotted in Varese-Venegono Airport, Italy.
Earlier in May 2021, as part of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure (NIMASA deep blue project), three AW-109SP GrandNew (with serial NN313, NN314, NN315) were delivered to NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy at naval air base Ojo, Lagos.
In total, the Nigerian Navy currently operates eight Leonardo AW-series helicopters with further three AW-109 on order.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is expecting the delivery of 12 x AW 109 TrekkerM armed helicopters from Leonardo as well.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao stated last month that aerial assets awaiting delivery includes two Beechcraft King Air 360, four Diamond DA-62 surveillance aircraft, three Wing Loong II UCAVs and 6 T-129 attack helicopters.
He further disclosed that there were ongoing acquisitions of 12 Agusta 109 Trekker multi-role helicopters and 24 M-346 attack aircraft. He added that some of the additional platforms are expected to be delivered to the NAF before the end of first quarter 2023.
In December 2018, The Nigerian Air Force placed an order for six Leonardo AW109 helicopters, they are the AW109M, the militarised version of the AW109E that can be armed with heavy machine gun pods and 70 mm rocket launchers.