The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Friday, commissioned another Bell 412 Helicopter for subsequent operational deployment.
A statement issued by NAF’s director of Public Relations and Information, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, said the newly commissioned helicopter is one of the 2 handed over to the NAF by the Federal Government in 2017, with the first having been inducted into the NAF in November 2017.
Just as the first one, the major systems of the helicopter and its surveillance cameras had to be sent to the USA and Canada for overhaul and repairs to restore their airworthiness, having been in containers for about 2 years as at the time of the handover.
The helicopter’s major systems were later reassembled at the NAF’s 631 Aircraft Maintenance Depot (ACMD) Ikeja by a combined team of foreign experts as well as NAF engineers and technicians. Also yesterday, the NAF commissioned the newly reactivated Machine Tools Workshop at 631 ACMD towards enhancing aircraft maintenance capability in the Unit.
According to the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the reactivation of the workshop, which was effectively operated last in the early 1980s, is in line with his vision of building the required capacity in the NAF. According to him, that is why the NAF had reactivated a similar workshop at 131 Engineering Group in Makurdi while another at 431 Engineering Group in Kaduna was being reactivated. He further stated that the newly reactivated workshops would boost NAF’s capacity for Research and Development as well as for technology innovation, as the moribund state of workshops in the NAF had been a limiting factor. He stated that the workshop was reactivated by NAF personnel in partnership with experts from the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID). Air Marshal Abubakar added that the reactivation was accomplished at a minimal cost compared with millions of dollars being quoted by foreign vendors. NAF’s partnership with UNIMAID thus went a long way in saving cost for the NAF and for the nation at large.
Since the reactivation of the workshop is meant to enhance personnel proficiency and productivity, the CAS announced that 20 NAF personnel had been nominated for the Intermediate Machine Tools Course to operate and maintain the equipment in the workshop. While inaugurating the Course, the CAS said, “a set of 20 students was earlier trained in the Elementary Handling and Operation of the Machines. I therefore urge you to make optimum use of this opportunity so that you can add value to the NAF”.
He informed the gathering that the reactivated machines could be used for structural repairs on the C-130 Aircraft and the fabrication of some tools required for the day-to-day maintenance of the C-130 aircraft. While expressing his gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for his resolute support to the NAF, the CAS also appreciated the enormous support of the National Assembly, especially the Chairmen and Members of the Senate and House of Representative Committees on the NAF, for appropriating the resources required for the Service to execute its projects. Air Marshal Abubakar equally appreciated the partnership of the various Nigerian universities with whom the NAF has Memoranda of Understanding in the area of Research and Development.