Nigerian Air Force Holds Conference, Records Several Achievements In 3 Months
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), 21 October 2019, commenced its Third Quarter Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) Conference at the Headquarters NAF (HQ NAF) Abuja. During the Conference, the CAS, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, highlighted several achievements recorded by the Service over the last 3 months, which had enhanced it’s ability to better serve Nigerians. Some of the achievements, he noted, include the sustained air onslaught against terrorists, insurgents and other criminal elements; winging of 13 additional young pilots, including the first NAF female fighter and helicopter pilots; sustenance of high serviceability rate of flyable NAF aircraft; reactivation of NAF C-130H aircraft (NAF 917) and EC-135 helicopter as well as fabrication of hydraulic diaphragm for the L-39ZA aircraft amongst other NAF Research and Development (R & D) breakthroughs.
The CAS reiterated that the objective of holding such Conferences was to critically evaluate the performance of the Service in the past quarter in order to identify areas where successes had been recorded whilst also noting areas that require improvement. On acquisition of aircraft, he revealed that the NAF would take delivery of 2 additional attack helicopters from Italy before the end of the year, while also noting that the Super Tucano contract with the United States Government was progressing as expected, with necessary infrastructure for the security and maintenance of the aircraft steadily being emplaced at the designated NAF Base. Air Marshal Abubakar added that the process for the acquisition of the NAF JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter aircraft from Pakistan was also progressing steadily, as assured by the Pakistan Air Force CAS, who had visited Nigeria the week before. On reactivation of aircraft, the CAS noted that the NAF had commenced the in-country maintenance of an Mi-35P helicopter gunship at its Base in Port Harcourt, while the Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) of another C-130H aircraft (NAF 913) was also progressing on schedule for completion in February 2020.
According to the CAS, the NAF’s R & D posture of looking inwards to source for and fabricate some aircraft spares within the Country in order to save foreign exchange was yielding positive results. He noted that the Service was partnering with Ibeto Nigeria Limited in Nnewi to produce aircraft batteries while also working with another Nigerian Company in Ibadan to produce hydraulic diaphragms for the NAF L-39ZA trainer aircraft. He also highlighted that the Service had continued to focus on improving the welfare of personnel, being the most critical factor to the success of its operations. In that regard, the CAS stated that the Service was in the process of recruiting doctors, nurses and other medical professionals as Direct Short Service and Direct Regular Commission officers, to boost the quality of healthcare services provided to personnel and their families at the various NAF Hospitals. Air Marshal Abubakar emphasized that the NAF would continue to strategize to evolve innovative ways to enhance its ability to more effectively and efficiently employ Air Power in response to Nigeria’s national security imperatives.
The CAS Conference is a quarterly meeting of Branch Chiefs, Air Officers Commanding (AOC) from the 6 NAF Commands, Commandants, Directors, Unit Commanders and Air Vice Marshals in Abuja, which is aimed at appraising achievements, challenges and projections across NAF Commands and Units in order to ensure enhanced operational effectiveness and efficiency. It equally provides an avenue to obtain feedback from various field commanders while also keeping them abreast of HQ NAF’s policy direction in the months ahead.
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