[News] Nigerian Air Force acquires 6 new helicopters to combat Boko Haram

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says it has acquired six brand new helicopters, to reinvigorate the nation’s air power. Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who made the disclosure in Abuja, said this was the first time in about 18 years that the NAF will be making such acquisition.

Abubakar made the disclosure at the “winging” ceremony of 12 pilots, who will be deployed to boost the air component of Operation Lafiya Dole in the North-East, and other internal security operations across the country.  “This is the first time in about 18 years that we are acquiring six brand new helicopters for the air force,” the CAS said.

According to the Air Chief, “This is quite significant in the sense that at least we are building capacity and making sure that we have the right number of qualified staff that will man these helicopters that have been acquired. “Human capacity is the most important.  You can have all the aircraft, but if you don’t have people who are trained to fight with aircraft, you will still not get anything. Now that the government is acquiring more platforms for us, we already have pilots.”  

He expressed delight that this was the second time the NAF was graduating new pilots this year. “This is the second time that we are winging pilots this year and this shows that we are thinking ahead of what the government is providing for us and I think it is really impacting positively,” he said.

Meanwhile, the NAF has trained the first set of two flying officers from Liberia.  The 12 new pilots, and their Liberian counterparts, acquired their trainings from the International Aviation College in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, as well as the Afrika Union Aviation Academy, South Africa.

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