The Nigerian Airforce (NAF) is expecting the arrival of war-planes and helicopters from Pakistan and Russia to boost its fleets, Vanguard reports.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar made the disclosure at a breakfast briefing with Editors of Online Media in Abuja during the weekend.
He said: “I want to say that we have been enjoying support from other countries. (Sometimes arm procurement) is shrouded in a lot of politics. Unfortunately, I’m not a politician, so I cannot be able to say much on that. But what I can tell you is that right now as I speak to you, we are expecting the Pakistani Chief of Air Staff in Nigeria soon. Pakistan has accepted to sell ten trainer airplanes. And that is why the Pakistan Chief of Air Staff is coming for the induction ceremony which is going to take place in Kaduna.
“We are really getting support from many countries. Similarly, we have trained so many people in Pakistan, China. In the US, we have pilots that are training right now. We have other pilots that have just finished training from the United Kingdom. We have additional pilots that are training in South Africa. We have more pilots that are training in the Egyptian Air Force and so many other places including Russia. We are really getting support.”
The Chief of Air Staff on the competence of Nigerian fighter pilots said: “In the last 18 months, we have flown almost 3000 hours with no incident. In terms of competence I can tell you that the Nigerian Air Force pilots are amongst the most competent. Because the training curriculum is very clear.
And that is why now in the Air Force you look at the wings, pilots wear wings. We have categorized the wings according to their skill levels. We also organize simulation training for our pilots, we organize evaluation visits where pilots are evaluated without any notice. We have also sent over 700 personnel of the NAF to different parts of the world to train and acquire the skills required for them to be effective.”
He also said the air force is currently assisting the Nigerian Army and Navy in the North and South in countering criminal activities of terrorists and militants through operational strategy, air interdictions strategy and soft-core strategy.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force has confirmed the recent crash of an aircraft, Agusta AW 101, a medium-lift helicopter designed for military operations, at the Nigerian Air Force base in Makurdi.
The crash occured two months after President Muhammadu Buhari handed over a number of aircrafts capable of ballistic missile defense from the presidential fleet to the NAF.