The Nigerian Airforce has taken delivery of three (3) JF-17 Thunder Multi-Role attack aircraft from Pakistan even as it is preparing to receive the 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft from the United States and several Unmanned Aerial Vehicles acquired by the Federal Government for the Service.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao disclosed this on Tuesday at the 2021 Combined Specialties Conference and Retreat in Abuja
He said, “These aircraft would add considerable impetus to our operations in dealing with terrorists, armed bandits and other criminal elements plaguing our Nation”.
“I would be stating the obvious by saying that a huge burden of responsibility has been placed on the Armed Forces of Nigeria, in general, and the Nigerian Air Force, in particular, by the Nigerian people to ensure their security and safety.
“We cannot afford to let them down. We must therefore use this period of introspection to evolve strategies to improve our operations as well as enhance our logistics support systems and maintenance practices to ensure the serviceability of our air assets for optimal employment of airpower capabilities in joint operations.
He explained that the Combined-Specialties Conference/Retreat is aimed at appraising the Nigerian Air Force’s current state of effectiveness and efficiency in contributing to the enhancement of National security as well as in dealing with current and emerging security challenges facing our dear Nation.
“The Retreat will provide an avenue for us to critically analyze our activities, achievements and challenges with a view to evolving strategies to overcome the challenges and charting a way forward in order to take the Service to greater heights.
“As you are all aware, any entity that aims to excel in its endeavours must take out time, once in a while, to conduct critical self-appraisal. Accordingly, this event is expected to feature robust, no-holds barred conversations, which I expect will go a long way in re-positioning the Nigerian Air Force for more effective service delivery, especially in the areas of Operations, Logistics as well as Aircraft and Armament Engineering.
“When I took over the helm of affairs of the Nigerian Air Force, I encapsulated my Vision, which is “to enhance and sustain critical airpower capabilities required for joint force employment in pursuit of national security imperatives”.
“This Vision, as may be obvious, is all about the employment of Nigerian Air Force assets in joint operations framework. This is premised on the fact that, as realized by Armed Forces the world over, there is seldom an operating environment where one Service would operate alone.
“Indeed, since the First World War, most major campaigns, whether conventional or sub-conventional, have involved 2 or more Services.
“This has also been the case for virtually every engagement the Nigerian Air Force has been involved in since the Civil War, whether at home or abroad, and is even more crucial within the context of the current asymmetric threat environment in the Country today.
“Consequently, we must ensure we are able to improve our synergy in joint operations, if we intend to achieve desired results.
“While we may have undoubtedly achieved appreciable results in various Theatres of Operation, including the North East, North West and North Central, I believe a lot more still needs to be done to ensure the secured environment required by the Nigerian people.
“Meanwhile, as you are equally aware, we are faced with several militating challenges; such as insufficient number of air assets, vast area of coverage in the various Theatres as well as inadequate funding. We are however also cognizant of the fact that no Nation or organization can get all that it requires per time, even among the developed Nations.
“Therefore, the onus is on us to work through these challenges and adopt the best operational strategies to achieve the desired results, within limited available resources, while continuously pushing for more.
“We must also look for areas of synergy with sister Services and other security agencies, whilst leveraging one another’s capabilities to secure our Nation.”
Meanwhile, towards effective employment of Air Power and the sustenance of human capacity development, a total of 233 officers and airmen/airwomen are currently undergoing training courses overseas, cutting across several specialties and trades at home and abroad.
This was disclosed by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao at the Winging ceremony of 4 new combat Pilots at the NAF headquarters on Tuesday.
The CAS said, “Out of this number, 4 student pilots are in the Czech Republic undergoing basic fighter training on the L-39 aircraft. In the same vein, 2 student pilots are undergoing helicopter training at United States of America, while additional 2 have been processed to join them in the coming days.
“Furthermore, 10 pilots are in the United Kingdom undergoing basic helicopter pilot training. Additionally, another 17 are in South Africa undergoing basic fixed-wing pilot training.
“All these are aimed at maintaining combat readiness at significantly higher levels to counter both domestic and foreign threats to the Nation’s security and wellbeing.
Disclosing that the 4 new Nigerian Air Force pilots, comprise 2 fighter pilots and 2 combat helicopter pilots, who recently completed their training in the United States of America, Air Marshal Amao said, “Today’s (Tuesday) ceremony bears glowing testament to our commitment towards “enhancing and sustaining critical airpower capabilities required for joint force employment in pursuit of our national security imperatives”.
“This is based on the fact that we cannot effectively and efficiently employ airpower if we do not have sufficient number of well-trained aviators and support personnel.
“Accordingly, we shall sustain our efforts in pursuing purposeful training and human capacity development for our personnel.
While congratulating the young pilots that have been winged for successfully completing the training, the CAS urged them to “be relentless in pursuit of excellence and professionalism as operational pilots, while working with your colleagues across other specialties in the Service”.
“You must also strive to imbibe the doctrine of jointness in the forward lines as you interact with personnel from sister Services and other security agencies in various Theatres of Operation nationwide for more enduring results.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari, for his unwavering commitment to the development and enhancement of the Armed Forces, in general, and the Nigerian Air Force, in particular.
In his welcome address, the Chief of Training and Operations, Air Vice Marshal James Gwani said, “In line with one of the key drivers of the Chief of the Air Staff, which is to ‘Pursue purposeful training and human capacity development’, the Nigerian Air Force has continued to train personnel to meet her professional needs.
He listed the pilots to be winged as Flying Officer AM Alkali, Flying Officer EH Karatu, Flying Officer AS Yadudu and Flying Officer EA Olagunju
“These young officers have gone through the rigours of flying training and their inclusion into the pilots’ corps would no doubt boost the strength of pilots especially as the NAF is inducting and expecting more platforms to combat the various security challenges across the country” he added.