Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, yesterday, sought expedited delivery of six TK-1 attack Helicopters from the Republic of Turkey to enhance their counterinsurgency operations.
He spoke when he received the Ambassador of Turkey to Nigeria, Hidayet Bayraktar, at the Nigerian Air Force Headquarters in Abuja.
By the agreement, two helicopters would arrive Nigeria next month while four would be delivered by March next year.
He affirmed that the support of the Turkish government was key to sustaining the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in Nigeria and implored the envoy to use his office to help fast-track the delivery of the six TK-1 helicopters to Nigeria.
The air force chief emphasised the painstaking resolve of the NAF to capitalise on the prospects presented by key partners to develop and enhance NAF’s capability to effectively secure the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar thanked the ambassador for his assurances and noted that the NAF would leverage the opportunities presented to improve its Research and Development (R&D) drive.
He further stated that the offer of technology transfer aptly aligned with one of the key enablers of his command philosophy, which prioritised R&D leveraging cutting-edge technology as well as lessons learnt.
In his remarks, the Turkish envoy expressed the readiness of his country to strengthen the already existing defence collaboration between the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and the Turkish government, through the transfer of defence technology.
Speaking further, the Ambassador noted that Turkey, had over the years, collaborated with the NAF and would not relent in ensuring that the partnership was taken to a higher level.
He also assured him that his country would not only sell defence products to the NAF but would be happy to assist the NAF develop its capacity to manufacture and maintain some of the products.
On the execution of the already existing TK-1 helicopter procurement agreement with the NAF, he promised to “ensure the delivery of the platforms as scheduled as well as ensuring their sustenance through an effective maintenance strategy with the NAF.”