The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Isiaka Alao, has noted that the operational manpower of the Nigerian Air Force recently recieved a boost with the winging of 26 new pilots and 31 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators since his assumption of office.
This is even as the Air Chief noted with joy that the Air Force currently has a total of 195 officers, airmen and airwomen undergoing various trainings abroad cutting across several specialties and trades.
He said in addition, 12 student pilots are undergoing Basic Fighter Training at 403 Flying Training School, Kano, while 12 others are undergoing Basic Transport Training at 401 Flying Training School, Kaduna.
He said the courses were aimed at maintaining combat readiness by increasing the number of pilots to man NAF’s ever-increasing inventory of aircraft.
He made the disclosures on Saturday during Christmas lunch with troops of air component of Operation Hadin Kai, in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
The CAS added that the event provided an opportunity to not only bond with frontline troops but also to promote comradeship and regimentation in the Service.
“The lunch also provides an opportunity for us to remember our colleagues who have paid the supreme price in the service of our fatherland. We remember the sacrifices of these fallen heroes today, as always, whilst also praying for the continued peaceful repose of their gentle souls,” Amao said.
He said there was no gainsaying the fact that the security threats currently facing the nation and the challenges they present to the attainment of national developmental goals, require the emplacement of a robust security architecture capable of rapid employment of airpower in the full spectrum of warfare.
“The paradigm shift in the way air warfare is waged in the fulfillment of mission objectives necessitates a highly versatile Air Force capable of executing a wide range of airpower roles across multiple Theatres of Operation to deal with these security threats.
“I am glad to say that the Nigerian Air Force, operating in concert with sister Services and other security agencies, has continued to courageously confront the threats, while recording tangible results in the various Theatres.
“I must therefore state that I am proud of the efforts of all our officers, airmen and airwomen participating in Internal Security operations in different parts of the Country.
“Permit me to also use this opportunity to express my profound appreciation to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for his continued support to the Armed Forces of Nigeria, in general, and the Nigerian Air Force, in particular, towards the achievement of our desired airpower goals,” CAS stated.