By Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) said weekend it boosted its air fleet with 49 fighter planes and attack helicopters in the last three years.
During the same period, the air force said it reactivated 15 helicopters and trained 90 pilots.
Also, following the air crash in Abuja last Friday that led to the death of a pilot participating in an aerial display in preparation for Nigeria’s 58th independence celebrations, the Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan Ali (rtd), paid a courtesy call on the family of the deceased pilot.
A statement issued by Air Force spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola in Abuja said “in terms of equipment disposition, the Chief of Air Staff disclosed that, with the support of the federal government, the NAF had acquired and inducted 18 brand new aircraft into the service, while also reactivating 13 others that were previously unserviceable; bringing to 31 the total number of aircraft that had come into service in the last three years”.
“NAF was also expecting the delivery of additional 6 brand new attack helicopters procured from Italy along with the 12 Super Tucano aircraft expected from the United States of America, which would significantly boost NAF’s aircraft holding by the end of 2020.
“Such unprecedented acquisition of aircraft was last witnessed in the early 80s. He therefore thanked the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as the National Assembly for their continued support to the service.
“The CAS also highlighted that, in line with his capacity building initiatives, the service had embarked on massive training in all NAF specialties.
“For instance, the NAF had produced 90 pilots in the last 3 years and had trained many personnel in various fields of information communication technology and engineering, both locally and abroad”, he said.