Source: Nigerian Air Force and Army press statements.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) yesterday inducted 5 additional Super Mushshak trainer aircraft into its inventory for the primary training of its pilots at 401 Flying Training School (FTS), Kaduna. At the same time, 16 ab-initio student pilots, including 2 female cadets, graduated from the 401 FTS.
It is significant to note that it was the first time in over 30 years that NAF cadets of the Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna would be graduating from flying training before being commissioned as officers. The newly inducted aircraft, which were the NAF’s first batch of 10 Super Mushshak aircraft procured from Pakistan, were recently received by the NAF. The inducted aircraft are all brand new and are fitted with digital glass cockpit in line with current practice in the global aviation industry.
In his remarks at the occasion, the Special Guest of Honour, Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by the Honourable Minister of Defence, Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali, stated that one of the major security policy thrusts of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is the building of the capacity of the Armed Forces.
“We have since embarked on qualitative training and acquisition of new platforms and other supporting equipment for the Armed Forces and security agencies. We have also sanitised the procurement process of military hardware with a view to eliminating corruption and inefficiency. This has contributed in no small way to the acquisition of these new aircraft without any encumbrances,” he stated. The Acting President congratulated the newly graduated pilots for the accomplishment in completing the primary flying training in a record time. “You should by now have known that the reward for hard work is more hard work”. He then commended the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for his selfless efforts in repositioning the NAF for greater professionalism and excellent service delivery to the country.
Earlier in his welcome address, the CAS commended the efforts of the Federal Government in acquiring several operational and training platforms for the NAF as well as for the huge investment in infrastructural and human resource development in the last 2 years.
According to the CAS, “We have attained between 63 to 70 per cent aircraft serviceability rate as against about 35 per cent aircraft serviceability rate 2 years ago.” The CAS further stated that the capacity development efforts of the NAF had translated into better operational efficiency in the North East and other parts of the country. The CAS also noted that the defence architecture of the NAF Bases had improved tremendously in the past 2 years with the training assistance the NAF receives from the British Military Advisory Training Team (BMATT).
The graduation of ab-initio student pilots is part of efforts at repositioning the NAF into highly professional force. “Our plan is to consolidate on this achievement in order to attain self-reliance in local pilot training.”
The representative of the Special Guest of Honour and other invited guests were later treated to an aerial display, involving several acrobatics, by one of the new aircraft. The distinguished guests also visited the Air Force Research and Development Centre in Kaduna, where they inspected some ongoing research works such as the Gulma Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Unguided Rockets and the Powered Chute Aircraft.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General TY Buratai has on Tuesday, 8th August 2017 presented gallantry awards medals to 2 officers and 63 soldiers serving of 151 Task Force Battalion, 21 Brigade Nigerian Army, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, for their gallantry and bravery in the face of the enemy.
The beneficiaries came under Boko Haram terrorists attack in 2 separate occasions, but were able to manoeuvre their way out of the ambush and engaged the terrorists, inflicting heavy casualties on them and also capturing their weapons, Improvised Explosive Devices, Gun trucks and logistics on 10th July 2017.
During his address to the troops of 21 Brigade in Bama, shortly after presenting the gallantry awards, the COAS described soldiering as a call to national service. He congratulated the troops for the successes achieved so far in the ongoing clearance operations against the remnants of Boko Haram terrorists. He urged them not to rest on their oars but conclude the fight against Boko Haram Terrorists and return back to barracks to continue with training and other routine duties.
Earlier, the COAS had a stop over at 202 Battalion location in Awulari along Bama Road, where he witnessed the test firing of an artillery weapons by 304 Artillery Regiment and thereafter proceeded to visit the Alau Dam along Konduga road. The COAS and his entourage joined the troops on patrol in gun boats stationed at the jetty.
He was accompanied on the visit by the Chief of Training and Operations at the Army Headquarters , Major General David Ahmadu, Theatre Commander, Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, the Acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Brigadier General Ibrahim Manu Yusuf and other Principal Staff Officers and Directors from the Army Headquarters.
It would be recalled that the COAS has in compliance with the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo’s directive to service chiefs since returned to the Theatre and has been touring various Army formations under Operation LAFIYA DOLE.
On Monday, 7th of August the COAS visited 25 Task Force Brigade, 7 Division Nigerian Army, in Damboa where he was received and briefed by the Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Quadri. This was on his way from Buni Yadi in Yobe State where he went to monitor and participate in the training of troops of Mobile Strike Teams that are due to be injected into Operation LAFIYA DOLE to enhance a more robust clearance operations against the remnants of Boko Haram terrorists in the North East.