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NAF gets more fighter helicopters Dec – Air Chief

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, on Thursday, disclosed that the Nigerian Air Force would take delivery of additional fighter helicopters in December 2022, while other new acquisitions would be delivered in 2023.

He said that the new choppers would be in addition to the already acquired 38 aircrafts by the President, Major General Mohammadu Buhari (retd.)’s administration since 2015.

Amao, who made the disclosure on Thursday during the two-day Force operation seminar with the theme: ‘Harnessing Nigerian Air Force Combat Experience in Joint Military Operations for Doctrinal Development,’ held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, said the aircrafts would boost the Nigerian air power employment and projection capabilities as well as air combat training.

He listed the new aircraft platforms being expected to include: two Agusta 109 Trekker multi-role helicopters, two Beechcraft King Air 360, four Diamond DA-62 surveillance aircraft, three Wing Loong II UCAVs and six T-129 ATAK helicopters.

Others include:  two CASA-295 medium airlift/surveillance aircraft, 12 AH-1Z attack helicopters, and 24 M-346 attack aircraft.

According to the Chief of Air Staff, “Under Mr President’s able leadership, the Federal Government has, since 2015, acquired 38 new aircraft to boost training and combat readiness of the NAF.

“Currently, we are expecting the delivery of additional platforms which include two Agusta 109 Trekker multi-role helicopters, two Beechcraft King Air 360, four Diamond DA-62 surveillance aircraft, three Wing Loong II UCAVs and six T-129 ATAK helicopters. Other ongoing pending acquisitions include two CASA-295 medium airlift/surveillance aircraft, 12 AH-1Z attack helicopters and 24 M-346 attack aircraft to boost Nigerian Air Force air power employment and projection capabilities as well as air combat training.

“A few of these additional platforms are expected to be delivered to the Nigerian Air Force in December 2022, while others are to be delivered with effect from 2023.”

The Air Chief also disclosed that the operatives have been able to neutralise the activities of terrorists in the country through intensive air interdiction of their (terrorists’) locations and facilities.

He said the persistent strikes by the Air Force had not only degraded the resources of the bandits, but had also disrupted their supply lines and denied them of their freedom of movement.

He said that had led the terrorists to be surrendering in droves to their troops due to the unbearable hardship meted out to them by the combined kinetic efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

Amao also congratulated the newly winged young pilots and urged them to be prepared for the arduous task ahead in their operational environment.

“Like I advised during the last winging ceremony, you must be relentless in the pursuit of excellence and professionalism, while working with your colleagues across other specialties in the Service.

“Let me use this opportunity to remind you that in the conduct of NAF operations, we must always adhere to laid down Rules of Engagement. It is mandatory that we also protect civilians and minimise civilian casualties during our operations.” Amao advised.

Declaring the event open, the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel, who was the special guest of honour, harped on the need for operation seminar as it minimises the level of operational errors in any organisation.

He lauded the Air Force for the choice of Akwa Ibom as a host state for the seminar and said the Force had lived up to its statutory responsibilities.

“There is no doubt that the Nigerian Air Force has lived up to its statutory responsibility. The professionalism of the Nigerian Air Force under the leadership of the current administration has given the people sense of hope and security. The greatest asset in any organisation is the training of manpower and Air Marshal Amao had done very well in this area.”The seminar is expected to end tomorrow Friday, October 28, 2022.

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