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Nigeria eyes Viper attack helos

Nigeria has been approved to buy 12 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters from the United States. (US Marine Corps)

Nigeria has been approved to buy the Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter from the United States in a potential deal worth an estimated USD997 million.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced the US State Department approval on 14 April, saying that the west African nation had been cleared to buy 12 Viper helicopters, as well as related equipment, spares, weapons, training, and support.

โ€œThis proposed [Foreign Military Sale (FMS)] 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,โ€ the DSCA said. โ€œThe proposed sale will better equip Nigeria to contribute to shared security objectives, promote regional stability, and build interoperability with the US and other Western partners. This sale will be a major contribution to the US and Nigerian security goals.โ€

Included in the proposed sale are 2,000 BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) guidance sections for laser-guided rockets, and the US is allocating USD25 million of case funds for institutional and technical assistance to the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) to continue Air Ground Integration (AGI) programme. This programme includes developing targeting processes that are legally compliant with international humanitarian law and the laws of armed conflict.

The State Department approval does not constitute a sale, and Nigeria may be considering other helicopter types to fulfil its requirement. Any FMS contract must first be approved by Congress.

According to Janes World Air Forces

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