Somalia has recently acquired two Bell 412 helicopters to support their efforts in combating the Al-Shabaab militant group. It is anticipated that an additional three helicopters of the same model will be delivered in the near future.
The training of pilots, technicians, and Special Forces personnel on this specific aircraft has taken place in Turkey, possibly due to the strong military partnership between Turkey and Somalia.
Turkey maintains a military base in Somalia where its troops actively train Somali soldiers in the fight against Al-Shabaab. It is believed that Turkey also played a role in training Somali pilots.
Initially, there were speculations that the helicopters were acquired from Turkey. However, further analysis suggests that this is unlikely, as the Bell 412 model is exclusively used by the Turkish Coast Guard and tailored for their specific operations. From a historical perspective, Somalia’s ties with Italy indicate that the helicopters may have originated from Italy. Earlier this year, Somalia received two ex-Italian AgustaBell AB412 helicopters. Nonetheless, it remains unclear if these specific AB412 helicopters went through modifications for deployment in the Somalia Air Force. Limited photographic evidence showcases two AB412/Bell 412 helicopters sporting a two-tone camouflage scheme in a desert environment, indicating possible modifications for combat operations.
The introduction of these helicopters is essential in strengthening Somalia’s counter-insurgency capabilities. The mobility and versatility of the Bell 412 helicopters will aid in combatting Al-Shabaab’s insurgency efforts effectively. With ongoing training and the expected arrival of additional helicopters, Somalia is positioning itself to intensify its fight against the militant group.