airforce helicopter
airforce helicopter

NAF Graduates Helicopter Gunners

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has graduated another batch of Helicopter Backdoor Gunners (HBDG) comprising 12 Nigerian Army (NA) and 19 NAF personnel to enhance synergy between the Services and other security agencies in the fight against insurgency. The graduation of HBDG Course 6/2020, which took place on 6 April 2020, at the Commando Village of the Regiment Training Centre (RTC), NAF Base Kaduna, would facilitate effective air-ground integration that would improve the freedom of action of surface forces at all echelons during combat operations. In the course of the 5-week intensive training, the students received tutorials on tactics, techniques and procedures for providing insertion and reinforcement capabilities as well as Close Air Support to ground troops during battle. It would be recalled that 10 Nigeria Police Force personnel were trained in the last HBDG Course 5/2019.

Speaking during the graduation ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, represented by the NAF Chief of Training and Operations, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) James Gwani, stated that the training was necessitated by the fluid nature of the contemporary security challenges facing the Nation. He noted that the use of rotary-wing platforms had become imperative for Close Air Support, as experience over time has shown that rotary-wing platforms are the best suited to the battle space against insurgents, terrorists and other non-conventional forces. He added that, in line with his vision of transforming the NAF into a highly professional and disciplined force through capacity building initiatives, the NAF had taken deliberate steps to build the capacity of its Regiment personnel to the skill level required to protect bases and assets as well as support NAF engagements across the Country. According to him, “the NAF subsequently embarked on training of over 4,000 personnel, both overseas and locally, in order to build adequate capacity in response to national security imperatives. This initiative has ensured that our Bases are well secured thereby providing the necessary platform to guarantee mission success”, the CAS said. Air Marshal Abubakar equally highlighted that the incorporation of the 12 NA personnel on the HBDG 6/2020 was done in the spirit of inter-Service cooperation as well as to ensure synergy for enhanced effectiveness and efficiency in the conduct of joint operations.

While congratulating the graduands for their success on the Course, the CAS urged them to imbibe the attributes and core values of the NAF of excellence, honour, honesty, courage, humility, perseverance and adaptability during operations and in their various fields of specialization to ensure success. He noted that the Course was deliberately made to be both physically and mentally demanding to prepare them for the tough challenges ahead. “Your commitment and determination during your training has distinguished you and made you all to earn a place among the elite teams in your respective Services”, he added.
Air Marshal Abubakar expressed gratitude to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammed Buhari, for the priority attention given to the training, operational and other requirements of the Service, noting that the support provided by the Federal Government had positively impacted on the NAF’s operational efficiency and had enabled the provision of improved welfare services to personnel. He equally commended the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Ground Training Command (GTC) as well as the Commandant and staff of the RTC for their dedication in ensuring the training of combat-ready personnel for the Service.

In his welcome remarks, the AOC GTC, AVM Idi Amin, noted that the increasingly complex nature of the contemporary threat environment required properly equipped, highly-trained and well-motivated forces. Accordingly, he said, the GTC, through its various training centres, had sustained the training and retraining of NAF personnel in non-technical ground duties, including Regiment and Special Forces (SF). In this regard, he stated that the RTC would continue to conduct training to produce highly professional and disciplined personnel that would be effective, efficient and timely in their response to national security challenges.

Speaking further, the AOC highlighted that the 5 weeks intensive HBDG course, which he said exemplifies 2 of the key drivers of the CAS’ vision of ‘human capacity development through robust and result oriented training for enhanced professional performance’ and ‘focus on comradeship, regimentation and inter-Service cooperation’, covered drills in an array of both combat and non-combat actions in offensive and defensive operations. He further explained that the training covered instructions and subjects on the practical applications of the science of ballistics, gunner strategy and duties, helicopter and rope safety procedures, heavy weapon fire and range classification exercise, survival techniques, practical rappelling from tower and helicopter as well as static and moving vehicle firing, amongst others.

The occasion featured tactical demonstration by the graduating students, which included an air-ground assault simulation exercise involving the engagement of an enemy location by a HBDG from an EC-135 Helicopter as well as the rappelling of SF personnel from a Bell 412 Helicopter into a hostile environment to flush out bandits from their camp. Awards were also presented to graduating students who had distinguished themselves during the Course.

Also in attendance at the event were the AOC Air Training Command, Commandant of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Deputy Commandant Nigerian Defence Academy, representative of the General Officer Commanding 1 Division NA as well as Commanders of co-located units in Kaduna.

IBIKUNLE DARAMOLA
Air Commodore
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force

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  1. NAF COMMISSIONS ADDITIONAL NCO ACCOMMODATION IN LAGOS, STRENGTHENS MEASURES TO COMBAT COVID-19

In its continued efforts to ensure decent and comfortable accommodation for its personnel for effective service delivery and professional performance, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), today, 6 April 2020, commissioned 4 newly remodeled/renovated blocks of 36 x single-bedroom flats for Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) at Sam Ethnan Air Force Base (SEAFB) Ikeja. The projects were aimed at ensuring  conducive living environment for the 144 benefiting personnel and their families as a motivation to enable them discharge their duties more effectively and efficiently. The NAF has also continued to strengthen measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 through sensitization of its personnel and emplacement of appropriate precautionary measures.

Commissioning the newly-renovated blocks, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who was represented by the Air Officer Commanding Logistics Command (AOC LC), Air Vice Marshal Lawal Alao, disclosed that since assumption of office, the current NAF leadership has prioritized the provision of decent housing for personnel. This, he said, has resulted in large-scale construction of new office and residential accommodations, as well as the massive renovation/upgrading of the existing accommodation that were in various states of disrepair, to address housing inadequacies in various units across the Country. According to the CAS “We shall continue to undertake such laudable projects whose resultant effects would revitalize your professional competence and yield higher quality output”.

Air Marshal Abubakar also stressed that the NAF, operating in concert with sister Services and other security agencies, would continue to work assiduously to ensure the restoration of peace and security in all parts of the Country through the effective projection of Air Power as well as the contribution of its Regiment and Special Forces personnel for Internal Security Operations across the Country. The CAS urged the beneficiaries to reciprocate the gesture by ensuring that the facilities are used with high sense of responsibility whilst continuing to contribute their quota to ensure the security of Nigeria and Nigerians in their various places of deployment.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Commander 651 Base Services Group, Air Commodore Rasaq Olanrewaju, expressed his gratitude to the CAS for the priority attention given to the welfare needs of personnel which had continued to make them better prepared to respond to various exigencies of duty. He disclosed that the disinfection and sanitization of SEAFB was at about 90 per cent completion, in accordance with Headquarters (HQ) NAF directives, adding that sensitization programmes had also been sustained to educate the Base Community on ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Commander further highlighted that, with the support of HQ NAF, SEAFB had emplaced palliative measures to alleviate the sufferings of the Base Community occasioned by the lockdown of Lagos Sate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He further disclosed that one of such palliatives was the establishment of a COVID-19-Compliant Mobile Farm Market on the Base, with the assistance of the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture.

Also present at the event were NAF Director of works, Air Commodore Abiola Amodu, as well as some Unit Commanders in Lagos area. Highlight of the commissioning ceremony was presentation of keys to some of the beneficiaries.

IBIKUNLE DARAMOLA
Air Commodore
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force