COMPARATIVE CTCOIN PROVISIONING : BELL IA-407 ARMED SCOUT HELICOPTER OF THE IRAQI ARMY AIR CORPS

– 24 units delivered to the Iraqi Army, Jan 2011-May 2013.

ARMAMENT

– the Dillon 7.62mm M134T minigun
– M260 2.75in seven shot rocket launcher

EQUIPMENT

– nose mounted Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) camera for night vision

Prior to the emergence of the armed Bell 407GT variant in 2013, the drive towards the militarisation of the Bell 407 single-engined light helicopter had commenced in 2011 with a unique order for 24 units of the Bell IA-407 armed scout helicopter (IA = Iraqi Armed), configured to meet Iraqi mission requirements for CTCOIN operations.That order for 24 units of the Bell IA-407, an ideal variant which would suit Nigeria’s needs very well, was fulfilled in May 2013.

The Bell IA-407 of the Iraqi Army Air Corps are used for SURVEILLANCE and ANTI TERRORISM operations. Their absolute relevance to Nigerian CTCOIN needs no elucidation. The price is just right as well. These are simple, effective and laden with COTS accessories.

The Bell 407 was developed from the Bell Jet Ranger.

PHOTO CREDIT: GLOBAL MILITARY REVIEW

About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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23 Responses to COMPARATIVE CTCOIN PROVISIONING : BELL IA-407 ARMED SCOUT HELICOPTER OF THE IRAQI ARMY AIR CORPS

  1. beegeagle says:

    The aforementioned Iraqi Bell IA-407s were specially configured as armed airframes for the Iraqi Army starting 2011. The success of that experiment has apparently led Bell Corporation to develop a dedicated armed Bell 407GT intended for the export market and first seen on display at an air show in 2013.
    Here is the prototype of the Bell 407GT

    PHOTO CREDIT: FIGHTERCONTROL

    BELL 407GT

    The Bell 407GT is the state-of-the-art
    tactical light commercial helicopter,
    bringing together the Garmin G1000H™
    flight deck with precision weapons
    capability. The Bell 407GT offers superb value by combining superior payload and range capabilities with Bell Helicopter’s
    industry leading commercial training and product support.

    * Several options for daylight/infrared sensors enabling extended long range
    surveillance capability and a means for
    accurate laser designation for all laser
    guided munitions

    * APKWS rocket system with “one shot” capability against lightly armored targets and embedded enemies

    * Garmin G1000H™ flight deck with twin 10.4″ high-res LCD screens host
    advanced integrated cockpit and multi-
    function display (MFD) information in an
    easy to scan layout

    * Highly flexible and configurable weapons system to meet various mission and operational needs with the capacity to carry personnel inside a closed cabin

  2. beegeagle says:

    From the perspective of appropriate configuration and cost, the Bell IA-407 Scout however seems more suited to Nigerian needs, having been deployed operationally in the desert climate of Iraq which replicates the operating conditions in our insurgency-prone and desertified borders in Greater Borno.

    For me, it should be a major contender for the primary helicopter of the budding Nigerian Army Aviation Corps.

  3. beegeagle says:

    I agree.

    We still do not know when Nigeria became scrooges on the arms market. It never used to be that way.

    Indeed, we placed singular orders for

    24 L39 Albatros jets
    24 Alpha Jet
    60 ABT-18 Air Beetle
    24 MBB Bo-105 helicopters

    When we had two fleet commands, we bought

    * 4 units of 31m coastal patrol craft and
    4 units of 32m coastal patrol craft in one loop

    *3 units Combattante III missile craft and 3 units of Lurssen FPB-58 missile craft in one loop

    And those were peaceful times.

    Today, we are caught up in a range of armed conflicts and piracy yet we buy 38 metre Sea Eagle OPCs and 25m Shaldag FPCs in pairs rather than in sixes and twelves. We buy Mi-24Vs in alarming triads and Mi-171Sh Terminator in sixes.

    The lullaby is “competing demands”. Na wetin dey hapun, pipo?

  4. beegeagle says:

    If I had my way, the NA Aviation Corps would get 24 units as start-up assets. The NAF would get 12 units as supplementary assets while the NN would get 6 units (one for each coastal FOB)

    Then, the Aeronautical Engr and Technical Services Ltd of the Nigerian Air Force would in conjunction with Bell Helicopters and DHQ open a Joint Service Centre where all 42 units would be centrally maintained by triservice aviation personnel. Bell would handle the skills acquisition for three years and leave.

    The good thing is that Commercial Off The Shelf(COTS) accesories would ensure that these assets are not held down by negative politics. The miniguns and rocket launcher can always be replaced with Singaporean or Israeli armaments, in case the activists succeed in getting the USA to slam another arms embargo against Nigeria. Perhaps COTS accessories are the reason why Zimbabwean Bell 412s are still airborne.

    The Indonesian Army Aviation Corps have inducted 36 units of a larger Bell helicopter variant since 2010-2011. As for the aircraft itself, where have Bell helicopters not operated alongside Mils on CTCOIN – Sierra Leone, Uganda, Iraq, Indonesia, Thailand.

    Let us do this – great price range (+/-US$3 million). What more can we ask for? Better to have these than the A109 LUH of questionable value – still not seen one armed with even a minigun at a time when we are crying for scouting and air interdiction options.

    Yet, the Minister says they have now been armed up. We shall see. What have we been waiting for? Don’t we need armed scouting assets to complement dedicated attack helicopters – even as BH flip back and forth across desert and mountain frontiers?

  5. Henry says:

    We should put into consideration that this is the “new” iraqi army. Any army with a virtually non existent military structure after the fall of saddam.

    So a jumbo haul of 24 units of this armed bell is to be expected.

    • eyimola says:

      That is true. However the years of sanctions under military rule in Nigeria had as much an effect on us (equipment wise) as the War in Iraq had on the Iraqi military

      • jimmy says:

        OGA HENRY
        True that we should also put in mind that IRAQ IS HEAVILY SUBSIDIZED BY THE US who are desperate to leave. The U.S. realizes they cannot leave an albatross AROUND IT’S OWN NECK AND OF IT’S OWN MAKING because the weak SHI’ITE dominated government will have no option but to turn to IRAN to stave off an inevitable full blown SUNNI INSURGENCY and possibly a practically independent Kurdish nation in the North.

  6. Henry says:

    Oga jimmy, I could not agree more. You spelt it in black and white. All in all great asset this bird is.

  7. beegeagle says:

    Sadly, none of the foregoing still explains why we are ‘shutting shop’ on procurement at a time of war. How come there are still Pumas/Super Puma and G222s FOURTEEN YEARS after which are not airborne? The Bo-105s were scout helicopters. Since 2000 AD when the first set of six Mi-35P were acquired, how come we have not replaced the Bo-105s.

    Inside the Niger Delta and in the Northeast, is it in doubt that we need armed light helics for scouting and interdiction? HOW CAN that be so hard to advance – when the Gunboat War started in 2006 and the Northern Insurgency commenced in 2010? New ones, no. Even the dozens of highly airworthy units of Bo-105s decommissioned in Germany…whossai?
    How many years does it take for a country to optimise the needs of forces engaged in combat operations, so much so that we still lack oceangoing platforms and scout helicopters? You know how many fleeing BH terrorists would have been intercepted and liquidated from the air with just an armed Bo-105 each domiciled at Nguru, Monguno, Bama, Geidam, Mubi, Baga, Potiskum, Ngala, Banki, Gwoza and Biu?

    For the STF, how would it feel to have Bo-105s at Yelwa-Shendam, Pankshin, Rukuba, Toro, Langtang and Heipang?

    What would it take to have those for the JTF at Formoso, Ibaka, Bonny, Escravos and Warri?

    It really is hard, given the timelines and the puny cost, to understand the drag on the attainment of these objectives. If we cannot muster the will to spurge $10-15 million to grab 24 decommissioned German Bo-105s, when are we going to focus and spend $150m on training, spares and 42 units of this plucky option?

    • jimmy says:

      oga beegeagle i know no ” e ja ka be olorun” TRANSLATION ( let us beg GOD)
      Because begging the powers that be is not helping right now.

    • eyimola says:

      Its because of an underestimation of the threat. Some politicians continue to see the military as a potential threat, so do not push the procurement requirements with vigour. Then you have those that look at Boko Haram and think “well…… the Nigeria Army can deal with this rag tag militants..” (which they obviously can and have), but Boko Haram is not the worst security threat the country can encounter. The assumption that the country can choose which conflicts to get involved in and which ones to stay out of is flawed. Over the last 10 years we have witnessed unprecedented acts by big players on the international stage, and who is to say what is coming next.

      On the other hand, you also have the reality on the ground, which is the fact that the Nigerian public would go nuts if they were told that the government was planning to spend 5 billion USD to upgrade and re equip the military. That’s the sort of funds that will be required. But the function of a Government is to Govern, and one of the critical definitions of a Sovereign State is to have ” independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory” In short ‘to have a monopoly over the use of force within its own borders’.

      • jimmy says:

        @ OGA EYIMOLA
        This is what I struggle with when I try to make rational THE ARGUMENT ABOUT COMPETING FUNDS. In 2012 AT THE Navy day celebration He publicly stated that the navy and even the ARMED FORCES IN GENERAL HAS BEEN SHORTCHANGED .this is the time he needs to make good on his promises in order to maintain/ sustain his credibility. Sometimes I struggle whether to criticize or praise him this without the emotional baggage. Here we go sweet and short:
        The air force needs a dual fighter even just a squadron of su-27s is a start
        The army needs modern tanks preferably THE T90
        The navy needs to have A SIGNATURE SHIP preferably the ABSALOM and the ARADU NEEDS TO BE REFURBISHED.

  8. Saints says:

    I think there should be a reason for this tight fistedness. Hmm let me think!!! Yes there is a reason. And it comes in the form of an unpatriotic leadership,hoisted up by corruption and self interest. Our military is declining in terms of aquisition and a regional power. I love nigeria, and i would also love to be proud of her. Despite the uncountable media scarifications. It is even getting very difficult to differentiate between truth from lie. If not for beegeagle. Well we go see either we fit afford to maintain this kind policy and the consequences it would have on our national security.

  9. beegeagle says:

    Oga Eyimola, I left you a PM at the old hangout. Do check it out urgently and revert.

  10. doziex says:

    Hehehe, gentlemen, na waa ooo. Sometimes we bloggers are on the same page on these issues, and sometimes, we choose to argue over them.

    Nigeria under military and civillian leadership, have simply run out of excuses. For all the aforementioned reasons, our leadership just refuse to do right by us.

    Iraq under saddam, who was a megalomaniacal SOB of the 1st order was still well equipped. They had upward of 80 Bo 105s, and similar numbers for super pumas and MI-8/17s.
    They had about 45 mi-24 hinds, 80 su-25s, 40 su-22s, may be 60 mig-23s, over 100 F-1 mirages, 40 mig-29s, mig-25s etc,etc,etc.

    Whereas, under Abacha and IBB, when NA soldiers where fighting and dying in LBR and SLR, dem greedy bastards couldn’t do anything but steal money.

    Now, saddam stole billions from his people, yet he equipped iraq with the 4th largest army in the world. Too bad he chose to test that army in conditions that vastly favored uncle Sam.

    My point is that nigerian leaders have utterly failed our military, no matter what yardstick we use to measure their achievement, No matter the context.

    Iraqis, even under US tutelage and sponsorship, are still spending their own money massively, while they are still recepients of US largesse.

    PM Maliki is spurging on 40+ top of the line F-16s, 140 M-1A2 abrams MBTs, 600 Otokar cobras, 500 MT-LBs (note nigeria felt it was necessary to only by 67).

    While president Goodluck parades in Air marshall ,field marshall and admiral regalia, But achieves/prochures very little.

    Nigeria, we hail thee.

  11. jimmy says:

    TRUTH IS BITTER, OGA DOZIEX YOU KNOW I RESPECT YOUR WORDS.

  12. doziex says:

    Politicians crippling our armed forces and not equiping them, because they are scared of coups,
    Is nonsensical and the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

    It is actually well equiped troops, consumed in training that have no idle time to plot coups.

    They will be too busy being professional soldiers than plotting to overthrow anybody.

    Imagine NN officers wargaming in frigates, destroyers and submarines, NA perfecting blitzkrieg assaults in the Leopard 2A4 or the T-90s, and NAF confidently commanding the african skies with Su-27s, 30s and 35s.
    The saying goes, an idle man is the devils workshop.

    It’s the idle soldier , with a make belief career and no fulfilment that may be tempted to do something foolish.

    We need to dead that rumor that IBB crippled NAF for fear of coups. BULL SH!!!T . IBB crippled NAF, cause unlike Gamal nasser, mubarak, Mugabe, Musevei, and many others, he simply had no vision.
    And with nigerian leaders, he is the rule, rather than the exception.

  13. freeegulf says:

    our leaders have never really been interested in strategy or geopolitics. with the exception of ’75-79 era, hardly any other time frame can we specifically point at. even the ‘combat foreign policy’ of ’75-79 did not even carry a big enough stick. the docile shagari govt of ’79-83 spent more money on defence than the murtala/obj regime that was more pan african and anti apartheid.

    we had the opportunity to annex fernando po in the mid 70s, no, we did not grab the advantage. chad was getting armed to the teeth in the 80s, right on our border. nay, we sat idle. cameroun openly asked france to deploy troops and fighter jets in-country during the bakassi crisis of ’93-94. nada, we learnt nothing from that also.

    govt has been towing the absurd line that we face no external threat. how ludicrous. from our tame approach towards the malian crisis, to the internal security challenges, it is still shocking why the fed govt continue to shortchange the armed forces.

    this isn’t about lack of funds, nor are we currently experiencing quiet times, rather, the naira-dollar exchange rate is turning our politicians into misers. no one asked them devalue the naira. how they solve the naira problem is their business, but armed conflicts definitely do not wait for the naira or finance ministry to play score card business with weapons acquisitions. there are several ways to procure arms without breaking the bank. from soft loans, to long term payment, oil for arms deals, the armed forces can get adequate kits without so called competing demands losing out.

  14. beegeagle says:

    ON THE RETIRED NAF FLEET OF Bo-105s

    VARIANTS OF NAF MBB Bo 105 helicopters

    * Bo-105D attack variant – 15 units

    * Bo-105D Search and Rescue – 4 units

    * Bo-105CD transport variant – 4 units

    THIS is what we can do with MBB Bo-105s in the Northeast – HOT PURSUIT.How do you like the 68mm rockets?

    MBB Bo-105

    Mexican Navy MBB Bo-105(WIKIMEDIA)

    FLIP SIDE – acquire two squadrons decommissioned from the German Wermacht as they move towards becoming a leaner force and put the airframes to good use.

    Here is what some of those German machines would look like – take note of the gun on the right side

    German MBB Bo 105

  15. ocelot2006 says:

    I think our focus should be on the procurement of larger utility helos to aid in mobility. For this class of light CTCOiN helo, we still have the Bo-105s in storage. I say we upgrade and arm them, then deploy them to the frontlines. Some can be upgraded with the same sensors as the American Kiowa so as to serve as scouts.

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