- Two new Agusta 109 power helicopters were inducted into the Nigerian Air Force on Monday, April 29
- The move is aimed at boosting the performance of the NAF’s constitutional roles of defending the territorial integrity of the country
- The induction ceremony was performed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the event
As part of activities marking the 2019 Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Day celebration, 2 new Agusta 109 power helicopters were inducted into the service on Monday, April 29.
The move is aimed at boosting the performance of the NAF’s constitutional roles of defending the territorial integrity of the country, especially the fight against insurgency and other forms of criminality across the country.
The induction ceremony was performed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the event.
The event also witnessed which started on Saturday, April 27, witnessed a colourful and exciting ceremonial parade, K-9/special forces display as well as a thrilling Order of Battle (ORBAT) Flypast and Aerial display by some of the platforms in the inventory of the NAF.
Speaking at the occasion, VP Osinbajo lauded the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, for his commendable leadership of the NAF in the last 4 years.
He noted that in fulfilling his promise to end the Boko Haram insurgency and other forms of criminality in the country, the CAS made professionalism and capacity building of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) a major security policy thrust of his administration.
He emphasized that training and acquisition of brand new platforms as well as other support equipment for the AFN and other security agencies was intensified.
“I have no doubt that the employment of the newly acquired platforms, in addition to the Super Tucano aircraft, which would be delivered in 2022, would add impetus to the combat efficiency of the NAF,” he said.
He further that the NAF has been fulfilling its constitutional mandate of preserving Nigeria’s territorial integrity through the employment and projection of air power.
He lso acknowledged the roles played by the NAF in the last 2019 general elections by airlifting electoral materials as well as aerial surveillance, which contributed to the success of the elections.
While delivering his welcome address, the CAS noted with nostalgia the 55 years of the existence of the NAF which had been very eventful. He said that the service had been confronted with a myriad of challenges and had surmounted them all, progressively maturing in the process.
The CAS stated further that the NAF had grown in size, spread and equipment holding, all in a bid to fulfill its statutory obligation of protecting and defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria from the air.
According to him, “The growth of the NAF since the inception of the service has been particularly outstanding. From having only a few trainers and transport aircraft in the early years of the service, the Nigerian Air Force currently has an impressive ORRBAT comprising diverse aircraft with capabilities to perform a wide spectrum of missions.
“We have also continued to build upon the foundations laid by our noble predecessors by reactivating several aircraft that were hitherto grounded; acquired and inducted various platforms into service and increased the strength of service personnel by 7,500 airmen/airwomen and 400 officers.
“Additionally, 2 new commands and 2 staff branches were established to meet the evolving security challenges we are faced with,” he said.
The CAS added that the NAF had also established additional units spread across the nation in response to evolving security challenges and had constructed and upgraded existing schools, hospitals and other infrastructure including 2 reference hospitals to attend to the welfare of personnel and their families.
“Furthermore, the gap between force projection and force protection capability has been substantially bridged with the training of more than 1,000 special forces.
“These personnel have been deployed as part of the Base Defence forces to deal with the threat to our bases and to support internal security operations in various troubled spots across the country, especially in the north-east, north-central and north-west, respectively.
“The current status of the Nigerian Air Force is a testament to the continued and sustained efforts by our predecessors since the establishment of the service,” he stated.
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Meanwhile, the NAF has been commended for its efforts at harnessing the available research and development potentials, especially in the military aviation sector.
The commendation was made on Saturday, April 27 by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, during the NAF Research and Development (R&D) competition/exhibition held at the Eagle Square in Abuja as part of activities slated to commemorate the NAF 55th anniversary celebration.
He disclosed that the event was an indication that the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) were aspiring to leave their footprints on the global stage, which, he said, was a very welcome development.
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Nigerian Air Force Day Celebration 2018 (54th Anniversary) | Legit TV