US Okays Sale of Almost $1bn Attack Helicopters to Nigeria

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VOLGOGRAD REGION, RUSSIA – AUGUST 9, 2021: A Kamov Ka-52 attack helicopter in flight during the Russian-Indian joint military exercise Indra-2021 at the Prudboi military training ground. Taking part in the joint exercise are more than 250 servicemen of Russia’s Southern Military District mechanised infantry force and around 250 Indian military officers with more than 100 pieces of armament and military hardware. Erik Romanenko/TASS

Ðîññèÿ. Âîëãîãðàäñêàÿ îáëàñòü. Ðàçâåäûâàòåëüíî-óäàðíûé âåðòîëåò Êà-52 “Àëëèãàòîð” âî âðåìÿ ìåæäóíàðîäíûõ ðîññèéñêî-èíäèéñêèõ ó÷åíèé “Èíäðà-2021” íà ïîëèãîíå Ïðóäáîé.  ñîâìåñòíûõ ó÷åíèÿõ ïðèíèìàþò ó÷àñòèå îêîëî 250 âîåííîñëóæàùèõ ìîòîñòðåëêîâîãî ñîåäèíåíèÿ ÞÂÎ è îêîëî 250 ïðåäñòàâèòåëåé Âîîðóæåííûõ ñèë Èíäèè.  ìàíåâðàõ çàäåéñòâîâàíî áîëåå 100 åäèíèö âîîðóæåíèÿ è âîåííîé òåõíèêè. Ýðèê Ðîìàíåíêî/ÒÀÑÑ

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Joe Biden administration in the United States has given approval for Nigeria to buy advanced attack helicopters worth $997 million to tackle insecurity in the country.

Nigeria is battling a series of threats from extremists and terrorists in the north.

The State Department on Thursday announced the approval of the almost $1 billion sales of 24 Bell AH-1Z Viper helicopters and related equipment to Nigeria.

The related equipment includes guidance, night vision and targeting systems as well as engines and training support, the department said in a notice to Congress.

“This proposed sale will support 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 department told Congress.

The sale was initiated after Secretary of State, Mr Antony Blinken, paid a visit to Nigeria in November last year.

Mr Blinken also made clear the United States’ regard for Nigeria as a partner in combating terrorism and Islamic extremism in West Africa and the Sahel.

The deal is also intended to “better equip Nigeria to contribute to shared security objectives, promote regional stability, build interoperability with the U.S. and other Western partners, and will be a major contribution to U.S. and Nigerian security goals.”

During Mr Blinken’s visit in November, he said the US was looking forward to seeing the full results of the investigation and would make a decision on arms sales to Nigeria based in part on the findings and whether those responsible were held accountable.

Nigeria is also facing a growing threat from terrorists and bandits who are now working together in the country’s troubled northwest and threaten to further destabilize the conflict-ridden region.

Other parts of the statement noted that, “This proposed sale will also require multiple trips by U.S. Government and contractor representatives to participate in the program and technical reviews plus training and maintenance support in-country, on a temporary basis, for a period of five (5) years. It will also require approximately three (3) contractor support representatives to reside in the country for a period of two years to support this program.

“There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defence readiness as a result of this proposed sale.”

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