The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, says the Nigeria Air Force will take delivery of additional fighter helicopters from the Federal Government before the end of December.
Amao disclosed this on Thursday during the Force operation seminar with the theme: “Harnessing Nigerian Air Force Combat Experience in Joint Military Operations for Doctrinal Development,” held in Uyo.
He said that the aircraft would boost Nigerian air power employment and projection capabilities as well as air combat training.
He added that the new delivery would be in addition to the already acquired 38 new aircraft since 2015.
Amao listed the aircraft being expected to include: 2 Agusta 109 Trekker multi-role helicopters, 2 Beechcraft King Air 360, 4 Diamond DA-62 surveillance aircraft, 3 Wing Loong II UCAVs and 6 T-129 ATAK helicopters.
Others include 2 CASA-295 medium airlift/surveillance aircraft, 12 AH-1Z attack helicopters and 24 M-346 attack aircraft.
“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.
“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,” Amao said.
The Air Chief also disclosed that the operatives had neutralised the activities of terrorists in the country through intensive air interdiction of their locations and facilities.
According to him, the persistent strikes by the Air Force have not only degraded the resources of the bandits but have disrupted their supply lines and denied them of their freedom of movement.
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,” he advised.
Amao said that he had set up a committee of officers to compile all allegations of accidental strikes on civilians as well as review the circumstances leading to such strikes in the course of operation.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his unflinching support, through which the Nigerian Air Force achieved its current level of operational effectiveness.
In his remarks, Gov Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom commended the Nigerian Air Force for their relentless efforts in combating the insurgents.
Emmanuel said that under the current leadership of the Chief of the Air Staff, the Nigerian Air Force was experiencing professionalism in securing the nation.
The governor said that no development could take place in an insecure environment and pledged his commitment towards the advancement of Nigerian Air Force.
He lauded the Air Force for the choice of Akwa Ibom for the seminar, adding that the Air Force had lived up to it’s statutory responsibilities. (NAN)