Somalia has recently procured two Bell 412 helicopters, with plans for the delivery of three more of the same model in the near future.
These helicopters, renowned for their versatility and mobility, are expected to play a crucial role in Somalia’s fight against insurgency.
To ensure the effective utilization of these aircraft, comprehensive training programs have been conducted for pilots, technicians, and Special Forces personnel. The training has taken place in Turkey, possibly leveraging the strong military partnership between the two nations.
Turkey has been actively engaged in supporting Somalia’s security forces and maintains a military base in the country where its troops train Somali soldiers. It is widely believed that Turkey’s involvement extends to the training of Somali pilots as well.
Initial speculations suggested that the helicopters were acquired directly from Turkey. However, further analysis indicates that this is unlikely, as the Bell 412 model is exclusively employed by the Turkish Coast Guard for their specific operations. Instead, considering Somalia’s historical ties with Italy, it is more plausible that the helicopters originated from Italy.
Earlier this year, Somalia received two ex-Italian AgustaBell AB412 helicopters, though it remains uncertain whether these specific aircraft underwent modifications for deployment in the Somalia Air Force. Limited photographic evidence showcases two AB412/Bell 412 helicopters adorned in a two-tone camouflage scheme, suggesting potential modifications tailored for combat operations in a desert environment.
The introduction of these helicopters marks a significant milestone in strengthening Somalia’s counter-insurgency capabilities. The Bell 412’s exceptional mobility and versatility are expected to greatly aid in Somalia’s efforts to combat Al-Shabaab’s insurgency effectively.
With ongoing training programs and the imminent arrival of additional helicopters, Somalia is strategically positioning itself to intensify its fight against the notorious militant group.