13 January, 2013
Let me, on the strength of privileged insights, now divulge what one has been able to cobble together as it pertains to the sudden appearance of Gazelle helicopters deployed for combat operations in NE Nigeria.
– Nigeria directly acquired five units of Gazelle helicopters from France. These were first seen in combat deployment in Feb 2015
– SOUTH AFRICA’s Paramount Group are upgrading them by installing the FLASH system, “an advanced development on the SAWS system that they did for Iraq’s Eurocopter helicopters” Herewith, all the relevant details of the FLASH.
– The said combat module is fully day/night combat-capable and incorporates Ingwe anti-tank missiles, 70mm guided rockets, Head Up Display system, Helmet System, Sighting System, 12.7mm gun pod and 20mm cannon.
This potent panoply are specifically geared towards the weaponisation of legacy light helicopters such as the Gazelle, Bell 206 Jet Ranger and Bell 212.
– Paramount Group are completing the work in Nigeria as well as undertaking training and skills transfer. “That was their unique proposition which got them the contract over their competitors in France and Israel”
ADDENDUM: Some similar-sized but more modern helicopters identified in photos and in Nigerian Air Force hangars since 2015 are the Fennec (photos in my Twitter photo file) and the EC 635 with its distinctive fenestron (will post photos as soon as practicable)