The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is expected to take delivery of 51 aircraft newly procured by the federal government to boost its operations.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, disclosed this during his remarks at the graduation of 15 participants of Air War College (AWC) Course 9/2023 held in Makurdi, Benue State.
The Air Chief stated that the graduation of the participants was a major stride in human capacity development in the Service, which is critical to the fulfilment of NAF’s constitutional mandate.
Abubakar, in a statement by the NAF director of public relations and information,MAir Cdre Edward Gabkwet, noted that the NAF would be inducting additional platforms before the end of the year to boost training, air power employment and projection.
He listed the platforms to include; two Agusta 109 Trekker Multi-role helicopters, two Beechcraft King Air 360, three Diamond DA-62 surveillance aircraft, and six T-129 ATAK helicopters.
Other pending acquisitions, according to the CAS include; two CASA 295 medium airlift/surveillance aircraft, 12 AH-1Z attack helicopters, and 24 M-346 attack aircraft.
He said the acquisitions demonstrate government’s deep commitment to equipping the NAF for the safe conduct of training and agile airpower employment to meet the nation’s security challenges.
He commended the unwavering support of the Federal Government under the amiable leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in equipment procurement and training, which has enabled the NAF to maintain consistency in conducting operations to curtail contemporary threats.
The CAS also re-echoed the importance that institutions like the AWC play in enhancing jointness and synergy in ongoing operations.
He said: “Institutions like the AWC and other Services War Colleges must continue to produce officers whose understanding and beliefs in joint operations would guide the AFN towards efficient use of available military resources.”
He then stated that the successes so far recorded in ongoing joint operations signified the benefits and necessity of joint force employment in contemporary military operations.
In his remarks, the Minister of Defence, Dr Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, commended the formidability of air power projected by NAF as a decisive and indispensable aspect of the physical component of combat power critical to the preservation of Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
The Minister, who was represented by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Christopher Musa, also noted that over the years, the NAF has continued to attract tremendous goodwill and credibility to the nation through the provision of airlift and humanitarian support for the United Nations, African Union and friendly African countries.
Badaru noted that NAF’s premium on operational art, critical thinking and other pragmatic frameworks for military decision-making processes in the curriculum of the AWC would, no doubt, enhance the culture of proactiveness in operational planning and management in the NAF.
He said such was indispensable to ensuring national security, which is pivotal to the socio-economic development of the nation.
He praised the efforts of NAF personnel whom, he said, have continued to contribute immensely to the successes of ongoing joint operations.
“I must also place on record that the NAF has been playing significant and crucial roles in the ongoing counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism operations where its officers and airmen have performed gallantly,” the Minister stated.