On Tuesday 18th October in the presence of Niger’s defence minister Alkassoum Indattou and his Italian counterpart Lorenzo Guerini, 2 x AB412HP Helicopters were handed over at Air Base 101 in Niamey
Indattou said the delivery was the result of close ties between Italy and Niger. The aircraft will be used to strengthen Niger’s Air Force and carry out personnel transport, cargo and medical evacuation flights, and combat cross-border crimes.
The two helicopters (MM81452/GF-207, c/n 25707 and MM81456/GF-211, c/n 25713) were delivered in the colours of Italy’s Guardia di Finanza (GdiF) and fitted with fairings above their cabins for radars used to detect maritime smugglers.
The Italian Ministry of Defence quoted Guerini as saying the Sahel is an area of great strategic importance to Italy as its dynamics have direct effects on the entire African continent as well as the Mediterranean and Europe. “That is one of the reasons why our country wants to strengthen its structured bilateral cooperation with Niger, thus moving forward with the ongoing productive dialogue established some years ago.”
Italy has deployed a Bilateral Mission in support of Niger and aims to increase the capacity of the authorities of Niger and other members of the G5-Sahel Initiative to counter illegal trafficking, terrorism and other security threats in the area.
The Italian Ministry of Defence said the two AB 412s were refurbished by the Agenzia Industrie Difesa (Defence Industries Agency) before being delivered to Niger.
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Published – Thursday 27th October, 2022