NAF Wings 4 New Pilots, Trains 139 in 5 Years

In furtherance of its capacity building efforts to tackle various internal security challenges in the Country, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has graduated another set of 6 pilots in tactical and basic flying. The combined graduation ceremony, which took place today, 29 September 2020, comprised 2 pilots of the Tactical Flying Course 24 (Batch B), and 4 student pilots of the Basic Flying Course 19 (Batch A). Among the graduands awarded Limited Combat Rating Certificate after completing the Tactical Flying Course on the Alpha Jet aircraft during today’s ceremony was the first female fixed-wing fighter pilot in the history of the NAF, Flying Officer Kafayat Sanni.

In his remarks at the graduation ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who was also the Guest of Honour, noted that human capacity development, being one of the Key Drivers of his Vision, has received much attention since he assumed office as the Twentieth Chief of the Air Staff. “This is evident in the number of personnel that have been trained in various courses, both locally and overseas. Indeed, today’s graduation brings the total number of new pilots winged since 2015 to 118, and by the end of 2020, the NAF would have completed the training and winging of 139 pilots, which is a glowing testament to the efficacy of our capacity building initiatives. These pilots have continued to add value to the efforts of the Service in dealing with security challenges in the North East, North West and other parts of the country” he said. The CAS further stated that, while a good number of NAF officers were undergoing various pilot training courses outside the country, the indigenous training institutions had continued to play a crucial role towards the attainment of the NAF’s capacity building initiatives. He expressed satisfaction that 403 Flying Training School, Kano and 407 Air Combat Training Group, Kainji, where the graduands were trained, had continued to set the pace in the provision of high-quality fighter pilot training.

While encouraging the 4 newly winged pilots, the CAS reminded them that they cannot afford to rest on their oars at this time, as the feat they had achieved also comes with a burden of responsibility with so much expected of them, not only by the NAF but indeed the Nigerian people, whose scarce resources were used to train them. He therefore urged them to continue to give their best to the Service and the Nation. While addressing the operational pilots, Air Marshal Abubakar, stated that their 18 months was deliberately made tedious with series of training sorties and several tactical maneuvers executed to the high standards expected of NAF fighter pilots. According to him, “all these were aimed at giving you the requisite skills to prepare you for the tasks ahead. I must emphasize that, now that you have earned your Limited Combat Rating, you will be required to work harder and fly with more precision in order to meet up with the expectations of Nigerians in the various operational theatres. There shall be no hiding place for armed bandits or terrorists in any of our forests” he assured.

The CAS expressed particular delight that Flying Officer Sanni, who was decorated with her pilot wings as the first female fixed-wing fighter pilot in the history of the NAF on 15 October 2019, had made history yet again, by successfully completing the Tactical Flying Training on the Alpha Jet aircraft. He noted that Flying Officer Sanni and her colleagues were now better trained and prepared to be deployed for combat missions in the ongoing counter-insurgency air operations in the North-East and other parts of the country. “You will go down in the history of our Nation as the first female fixed-wing fighter pilot to undertake combat missions in defence of our freedom and sacred values. You will be undertaking combat missions to assert our right to our territory and protect the lives and property of our people”, the CAS added.

Air Marshal Abubakar further noted that the NAF’s ability to effectively and efficiently project Air Power has also been significantly enhanced by the Federal Government’s support in the areas of platforms acquisition and reactivation as well as training and approval to expand NAF’s field units. He therefore appreciated the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari for his unflinching support to the NAF. The CAS also appreciated the National Assembly, especially the Chairmen and members of the Senate and House Committees on Air Force for their continued support to the Service.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Chief of Training and Operation, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) James Gwani, noted that the graduation of the pilots further lends credence to one of the Key Drivers of the CAS’ Vision, which is “Human capacity development through robust and result oriented training for enhanced professional performance”. He added that the graduation of the pilots would undoubtedly further enhance the NAF’s capacity for effective, efficient and timely employment of air power in response to Nigeria’s national security imperatives.

While giving the highlights of the 2 courses, the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command (AOC ATC), AVM Musa Mukhtar, stated that the Basic Flying Course 24B, which commenced in March 2019, comprised 2 phases; the ground academics and flying training phases. He noted that the ground academics phase lasted 14 weeks, covering subjects such as Aerospace Physiology, Aircraft System and Aircraft Operation Orders, amongst others. Areas covered in the flying training phase, which required each student to fly an average of 130 sorties, included General Handling, Instrument Flying, Navigation as well as Night and Formation Flying. He remarked that the Tactical Flying Course 19A, which lasted 18 Months, was also conducted in 2 phases, the Conversion and Tactical phases, covering Air to Ground Weapons Delivery Theory, Tactical Deliveries and Mission Planning, amongst others, with each trainee flying 35 and 40 hours in each phase, respectively.

IBIKUNLE DARAMOLA
Air Commodore
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force
29 September 2020

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NAF COMMISSIONS 340,000-LITRE CAPACITY BULK FUEL INSTALLATION IN PORT HARCOURT

The timely and reliable supply of aviation fuel is critical to the sustainability of effective air operations. Mindful of this imperative, the Nigerian Air Force is continually working to emplace the necessary logistical framework to ensure that air operations are sustained for the enhancement of Nigeria’s national security. In furtherance of this objective, the NAF today, 30 September 2020, commissioned a newly reactivated Bulk Fuel Installation (BFI) facility at 115 Special Operations Group (115 SOG), Port Harcourt. The BFI, with a capacity of 340,000 litres of aviation fuel, was expanded and modernised by the NAF Investments Limited (NAFIL), in partnership with Skymaster Achievers International Services Limited.

While commissioning the BFI, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who was represented by the Group Managing Director, NAF Holding Company (NAFHC), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Abubakar Bagare, stated that the reactivation of the BFI would contribute immensely to assuring uninterrupted availability of aviation fuel in support of NAF operations. He stated further that the increase in the capacity of the BFI would equally accommodate the fuel requirements for the special mission aircraft that would be deployed for the monitoring of Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone. “I have been briefed of the very high standards and specifications employed in the execution of this project and want to assure you that the NAF would, to this end, definitely patronize this BFI. Let me congratulate the management and staff of NAFIL for yet another giant stride. I am equally impressed with your achievements in your other projects in other Units across the country”, the CAS said.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Managing Director (MD), NAFIL, Air Commodore Uchechi Nwagwu, noted that the BFI is one of NAFIL’s efforts at diversifying its portfolios and enhancing its turnover while contributing its quota towards supporting operations of the NAF by ensuring timely availability of aviation fuel. He noted that the BFI can now meet accepted industry standards and undoubtedly compete with any facility of its type within the country. The MD disclosed that, apart from the installation’s increased capacity of 340,000 litres of aviation fuel, products would also be available in the BFI’s bowsers and trailers, that would be used to bridge across diverse locations. He also revealed that the BFI would not only be available for use by the NAF but also to aviation operators whose activities are around the Port Harcourt Military Aerodrome. He appreciated the keen interest and enthusiasm of the management and staff of Skymaster Achievers International Services Ltd and the valuable support of the Director of Logistics, Headquarters NAF, AVM Ademola Durotoye, as well as the Commander 115 SOG, Group Captain Dooyum Laha, towards the accomplishment of the project.

Also present at the event were the Air Officer Commanding Tactical Air Command, AVM Olusegun Philip, and the Director of Policy Headquarters NAF, AVM Idi Lubo, as well as other senior military officers.

IBIKUNLE DARAMOLA
Air Commodore
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force
30 September 2020