The Nigerian Air Force yesterday said it had concluded arrangements for the acquisition of 18 brand new aircraft which will be inducted into the Service’s inventory in 2020.

The chairman, organising committee, Nigerian Air Force at 55 Anniversary Celebration, Air Commodore Nnamdi Ananaba, disclosed this while briefing journalists at NAF headquarters in Abuja, yesterday.

Air Commodore Ananaba  noted that the Nigerian Air Force had, within the last three years, taken delivery of 16 brand new aircraft which include 10 Super Mushshak, four Mi-35M and two Bell 412 helicopters.

He stated that the 18 expected state-of- the-art platforms already paid for include: four A-109 Power, one Mi-35M, one AW139 helicopter and 12 Super Tucano jets.

He further said that 14 previously grounded aircraft such as Falcon 900, ATR-42, Beechcraft, Super Puma, EC-135 Do-228, Mi-35P, F-7 and L-39 were reactivated within the same period under review.

While observing that NAF under the leadership of Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar had recorded commendable achievements in the acquisition and reactivation of aircraft, the chairman said that reorganising for improved efficiency entailed repositioning NAF to bridge gaps and bring security closer to the Nigerian people.

“The NAF has, in the last three and half years, expanded its organisational structure and improved training, thereby building capacity and capability to more effectively deal with Nigeria’s peculiar security challenges such as insurgency, oil theft, banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling, among others, which have caused all security agencies of the country to perform roles beyond their basic scope to complement one another”, he said.

Ananaba further stated that the expansion of the NAF include new Commands, new Staff Branches as well as new Quick Response Units in Gusau, Daura, Ipetu-Ijesha, Katsina, Owerri, Agatu, Doma and Nguroje, among others.

While saying that training and infrastructural development have been on the increase to further develop capacity and capability for the job ahead, Ananaba added that NAF had winged 90 pilots in the last three years while 68 others are in training both at home and abroad.

According to him, over 7,000 personnel had been trained in different specialties, including over 4,000 Regiment personnel and 1,000 Special Forces personnel who had been actively involved in combat operations with the army.

Ananaba revealed further  that the Nigerian Air Force Day Celebration 2019, tagged NAF@55, was scheduled to take place in Abuja from 27 to 29 April, 2019 and presents the Service a good opportunity to reflect on how far it has come as an Air Force.

He said the anniversary celebration would also enable the NAF to show the Nigerian taxpayers what their air force was capable of, noting that from being a Service which, during the civil war, rolled bombs out of aircraft by hand, the service had progressed to one that is highly professional and equipped with advanced aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) capable of precision strikes from as far away as 250km.

…Kills 10 Bandits In Zamfara

The Air Task Force (ATF) component of Operation Diran Mikiya  has killed 10 armed bandits at Sububu Forest area in Zamfara State.

A statement by the director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said the feat was achieved on 22 April, 2019, while the ATF was responding to a request for close air support by ground troops of Sector 7 Area of Responsibility of Operation Sharan Daji, who had come into contact with armed bandits in Shinkafi Local Government Area (LGA).

He said, accordingly, the ATF dispatched two Alpha Jets and an attack helicopter to provide the needed support and also conduct armed reconnaissance over identified locations in Shinkafi LGA as well as Sububu and Dumburum Forests and environs.

“At Sububu Forest, one of the Alpha Jets spotted a group of armed bandits, who fired at the aircraft with their rifles whilst running for cover.

“The Alpha Jet engaged the bandits, neutralising no fewer than 10 of them while others escaped with injuries,” he said

He reiterated that NAF, working in consonance with surface forces and other security agencies, will sustain its operations to flush out the bandits from the Northwest of the country.