John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Nigeria Air Force (NAF) has acquired four Super Mushshak aircraft to boost the training of its personnel.
Speaking at the taking over ceremony of the aircraft monday at the NAF base, Kaduna, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said the aircrafts were acquired through a partnership with the Pakistani Air Force.
He said the Nigerian Air Force has fared well since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed leadership as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
He said NAF had restored 15 airplanes and helicopters to flying status in the last 17 months, adding that efforts were at advanced stage to reactivate four additional planes that would very soon be serviceable and deployed for operations.
Abubakar disclosed that the government had approved the procurement/induction of four gun ships, four medium airlift/utility helicopters, three light attack aircrafts and 10 primary trainers, with the four aircraft inclusive.
He said by the end of the first quarter of 2017, the NAF would have 21 additional new platforms in its inventory, stressing that “we are highly excited about this development because the last time the was given such number of platforms at a time was in the early 80s.”
He said the induction of the Super Mushshak aircrafts into the service will impact positively on pilot training efforts as its ruggedness to perform both basic and advanced aerobatics as the stage of military flying training is an essential criterion for producing seasoned combat pilots.
While acknowledging the support of the Pakistani Air Force, the CAS renewed the commitment of the service to supporting the vision of the president for ensuring a secured and prosperous Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Chief of the Air Staff, of the Pakistan Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, said the existing global security scenario coupled with the changing dynamics of warfare calls for enhanced partnership among nations and their armed forces.
He said the Super Mushshak is a leap forward towards promoting strategic partnership, noting that “Pakistan and Nigeria are facing similar challenges and our countries are determined to maintain peace, stability and security.”
According to him, the armed forces of both the countries have played a pivotal role in the war against terror.
He commended the Nigerian Armed Forces for their resolute commitment and relentless efforts for elimination of the menace of terrorism and pledged Pakistan’s resolve to stand by Nigeria the in war against terror.
“In our more than a decade-long war against terrorism, the PAF has gained unique experience in the domain of counter terrorism air operations. I am pleased that the NAF has chosen the platform of the Super Mushshak for training of student pilots as it is a great world favourite and many countries have inducted it for training as well as other roles,” he said.
Also, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in his ministry, Ambassador Danjuma Sheni, said the acquisition of the aircrafts was an expression of the commitment of the government despite the nation’s budgetary constraints in the period of recession.
He promised that the government would continue to give the armed forces and other security agencies the resources required to do their jobs effectively.