Reaffirming NAF’s Commitment to Operational Readiness, Innovation 

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar recently embarked on an operational visit to Logistics Command in Lagos. Chiemelie Ezeobi reports that this maiden tour since his appointment reaffirmed the NAF’s commitment to maintaining operational readiness, fostering innovation through R&D, and strengthening collaboration with other security agencies to address emerging security challenges effectively

It was homecoming for the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, as he made his maiden visit to Lagos since his appointment as the 22nd CAS. 

It was a nostalgic visit because the chief had spent good number of the entire years he had put into the service in Lagos including when he was the Air Officer Commanding Logistics Command.

During the operational visit to the Logistics Command and other operational units and formations  situated in Lagos, the CAS, who was 

received by Air Officer Commanding, Logistics Command, Air Vice Marshal Abubakar Yaro Abdullahi, inspected facilities, equipment and installation as well as interacted with the officers and men of NAF Lagos with a view to making sure that their operational requirement as well as their welfare needs are adequately catered for. His visit also included the headquarters of the air components and Joint Task Force Operation AWATSE.

The Logistics Command, established in 1982, plays a crucial role in providing logistical support for the NAF, including procurement, maintenance, sustenance, and eventual disposal of facilities and equipment. Air Marshal Abubakar’s inspection aimed to ensure that the operational requirements and welfare needs of the officers and men of NAF Lagos were adequately met.

Command Philosophy 

For his Command Philosophy, the CAS  coined out of the vision and mission of the AFN as encapsulated in the 2017 National Defence Policy document to enhance synergy of purpose while improving jointness, cooperation and esprit de corps. 

This Command Philosophy is aimed at providing a holistic view of how to accomplish assigned missions, get the various parts of the NAF working in unison and thriving, while also safeguarding the welfare of all personnel, which was part of what informed his tour to Lagos. 

Reflections of NAF @60

In his address, Air Marshal Abubakar highlighted the significant progress made by the Nigerian Air Force since its establishment in 1962, leading up to its forthcoming 60th anniversary in May. From humble beginnings with limited platforms and training facilities, the NAF now boasts 30 different aircraft types and a personnel strength of over 35,000 officers and men spread across all geopolitical zones of the country.

While reflecting on the NAF’s evolution, Air Marshal Abubakar acknowledged the transition from conventional warfare to irregular warfare and counter-insurgency operations, while noting that the challenges posed by adversaries embedded within civilian populations,  sometimes result in unintended civilian casualties. 

However, he reassured that the NAF is committed to minimising such incidents through intelligence-driven operations and continuous learning from past mistakes.

Underscoring Importance of Research & Development 

Air Marshal Abubakar underscored the importance of research and development (R&D) in driving innovation within the NAF. He highlighted ongoing R&D efforts, including the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) such as the Gulma and Tsaigumi, which are nearing mass production stages. Additionally, he noted that several NAF research products have been patented, demonstrating the NAF’s commitment to technological advancement.

He said: “One of the key enablers of my Command Philosophy is emphasis on Research and Development and we have very good foundation so far. We have the Air Force Research and Development Institute which is presently located at Osogbo. We also have the Air Force Institute for Technology and this is in addition to our R&D cells that we have spread across all our formations and units in the AirForce.

“We usually have competitions where R&D efforts are brought and assessed before picking a winner. Based on that, we have reached advanced stages with some of our project. For instance, we have the Gulma and the Tsaigumi UAVs , we have demonstrated flights with them, we are now at the stage of mass production.

“Hopefully by next year, we would have them mass produced and at least operating within the Air Force before we even start producing them commercial purposes. We also have about five of our research products that have been patented by National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) and now we have proprietary ownership of those patent and we can mass produce, use and as well sell them and so many other products along the line.”

Successful Collaborations

Regarding collaboration with other security agencies, Air Marshal Abubakar emphasised the NAF’s excellent relationship with agencies such as the Department of State Services, Nigerian Police, Army, and Navy. He highlighted the exchange of intelligence and joint operations as key components of the NAF’s collaborative efforts to enhance national security.

For Logistics Command, the CAS operational visit was a boost to his commitment to maintain operational readiness, foster innovation through R&D, and strengthen collaboration with other security agencies.

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