The Nigeria Airforce on Monday took delivery of four fighter aircraft donated by the Pakistani government to the country as part of its contribution to the fight terror in the country.
The aircraft, which were handed over to the Nigerian Air Force by the Pakistani Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, were in fulfillment of agreements reached by the two countries when Nigeria placed order for 10 war planes.
The four war aircraft are meant to train Nigerian Air Force pilots on how to operate the war planes being expected by the first quarter of 2017.
Aside the four aircraft donated by the Pakistani government, the government also deployed pilots, engineers and other maintenance crews to guide the Nigerian users, pending delivery of the war plane ordered for by the government.
It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the procurement of 21 aircraft which include four gunship-helicopters, four medium airlift utility helicopters, three live attack aircraft and 10 primary trainers which delivery are expected in the country by the first quarter of next year.
While taking delivery of the aircraft in Kaduna, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, commended President Buhari for his prompt response to the operational needs of the Air Force, noting that 20 aircraft had been purchased and added to the Air Force fleet since assumption of office of the president.
According to him, “I would like to specially thank Mr President for his support and consistent commitment to the development of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
“I want to put it on record today that the Nigerian Air Force has fared well since Mr President’s assumption of leadership as our Commander-In-Chief.
“As as result, the Nigerian Air Force is now strategically positioned into our highly disciplined and professional force through capacity building initiative for effective and efficient employment of firepower in response to Nigerian national security challenges.”
Speaking further, he said “the Nigerian Air Force had made tremendous improvement in terms of reactivation, training and enhancement of the welfare of its personnel.
“In the area of platform reactivation, the Nigerian Air Force has restored 15 air planes and helicopters into flying status in the last 17 months.
“Efforts are also at advanced stage to reactivate four additional air planes that will be deployed very soon for operations.
“It is our hope that by the first quarter of 2017, the Nigerian Air Force would have 21 additional new platforms in its fleet.
“We are highly delighted by this development because the last time the Nigerian Air Force was given this number of platforms at a time was in the early 1980s.”
He added that the Force had increased its annual recruit intake from 1,000 to 4,000.
“For pilot training, the Nigerian Air Force has trained a total of 48 pilots from July 2015 to date, while 62 pilots are undergoing various forms of training, both locally and abroad.
“By the end of first quarter of 2017, the Force would have additional 66 pilots to boost its operational manpower,” he added.
“Today, the Nigerian Air Force is inducting the Super Mushshack Aircraft into its service. This will impact positively on the pilot training efforts of the service.
“More so, 35 student pilots coming from the Nigerian Defence Academy will immediately commence training on the Super Mushshack Aircraft that have been inducted into service today,” he stated further.
Air Chief Marshal Abubakar commended the Pakistani government for its continued support to the Nigerian Air Force.