The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says it has reorganised its combat structure in the north-eastern part of the country for increased operational efficiency.
This was revealed by the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, at the CAS fourth quarter conference, which commenced at NAF Headquarters on Monday, December 11.
Abubakar said the air component commander has been replaced with the head of the Air Task Force (CATF), Idi Lubo, who is an air vice marshal (equivalent to a 2-star general). He is to report to the overall theatre commander.
Abubakar further stated that a Nigerian female pilot, for the first time in the history of the NAF, has been sent to the United States Air Force for training as a fighter pilot.
NAIJ.com learnt that the female pilot had earlier this year graduated as the overall best pilot during ab-initio training at 401 Flying Training School Kaduna.
A statement by Olatokunbo Adesanya, the spokesperson for the security body, said NAF has also appointed three Divisional Air Liaison Officers (DALO) for the three armoured division as well as seven and eight divisions of the Nigerian Army in the north-east.
“The whole idea is to ensure a better coordination of air efforts with ground operations. Besides, the NAF has appointed an air liaison officer for the theatre command to further limit the possibility of gaps in operations,” the statement said.
Abubakar also indicated that 24 pilots had completed their training and would soon be deployed for operational duties.
“The NAF had also reactivated additional platforms which had been deployed for operations in the northeast. In particular, one Bell 412 helicopter had been added to the NAF fleet while work on the second Bell Helicopter would be completed before the end of December 2017.
“Additionally, one Mi-35P helicopter would be ready for operation before the end of January 2018, as the overhauled engines needed for its reactivation had arrived in Nigeria.
“Air Marshal Abubakar added that the reactivation was being done locally to further build the capacity of NAF technical personnel while equally saving cost.
“Accordingly, the NAF invited foreign technical experts to execute the project in conjunction with its engineers and technicians.
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“The CAS further reported that 2 additional Mi-35M helicopters recently procured for the NAF by the federal government had been test flown in Russia and should be operational in Nigeria by February 2018.
“In all, 5 combat helicopters are being added to enhance ongoing NAF counterinsurgency efforts,” the statement added among other things.
NAIJ.com earlier reported how days after attacking a major base of the Boko Haram sect in Bogumeri area of Borno state, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) released footage of the successful operation.
A statement signed by Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, the director of the organisations public relation and information, said the success was in furtherance of Operation Lafiya Dole.
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