B’haram: Nige­ria ex­pect­ing 18 fighter air­craft from US, Italy, says mil­i­tary

The Punch - - NEWS - Olal­eye Aluko, Abuja

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Mar­shal Sadique Abubakar, on Fri­day said the Nige­rian mil­i­tary was still ex­pect­ing to take de­liv­ery of 18 fighter air­craft from the United States of Amer­ica and Italy to boost the counter-in­sur­gency op­er­a­tion in the North-east and other op­er­a­tions across the coun­try.

Abubakar said the 18 air­craft were the much-talked about 12 A-29 Su­per Tu­cano air­craft from the US and then six Agusta 109 power he­li­copters from Italy.

The air chief stated this in Kaduna State at the grad­u­a­tion of 769 Nige­rian Air Force per­son­nel who were drawn from the Reg­i­ment, Air Po­lice and In­tel­li­gence spe­cial­ties.

The per­son­nel were trained by the British Mil­i­tary Ad­vi­sory Train­ing Team and the Four Troop Team at the Reg­i­ment Train­ing Cen­tre, Kaduna.

The air chief said, “The de­sire to make the NAF the best in the sub-re­gion ne­ces­si­tated new plat­forms, equip­ment and spe­cialised train­ing. The Com­man­der-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari, has given us pri­or­ity at­ten­tion which has re­sulted in the ac­qui­si­tion of 18 new air­craft in the last three years.

“We are also ex­pect­ing an­other 12 A-29 Su­per Tu­cano air­craft and six Agusta 109 power he­li­copters from the United States and Italy re­spec­tively.

“This will no doubt con­trib­ute to the fight against in­sur­gency and other forms of crim­i­nal­ity whilst also en­hanc­ing the ex­e­cu­tion of the NAF Base De­fence Ar­chi­tec­ture.

“The air force has un­der­taken sev­eral air and groundrelated ca­pac­ity build­ing ini­tia­tives which were meant to sig­nif­i­cantly en­able the ser­vice to have depth, flex­i­bil­ity and ca­pa­bil­ity to op­er­ate ei­ther singly or jointly with sis­ter ser­vices and other se­cu­rity agen­cies.”

Ac­cord­ing to a re­lease by the NAF Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Re­la­tions and In­for­ma­tion, Air Com­modore Ibikunle Daramola, the per­son­nel were trained on “ba­sic and ad­vanced reg­i­ment cour­ses.”

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