Air Force Deploys 5 Attack Helicopters To Fight Boko Haram
Posted On Dec 11, 2017
As part of strategic measures to reinvigorate the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency war in the North East, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has added that 5 combat Helicopters to ensure a better coordination of air efforts with ground operations.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who made the disclosure yesterday in Abuja, noted that for “increased efficiency”, an Air Vice Marshal (AVM) has also been appointed to command the Air Task Force.
Besides the appointment of the 2-star-General to superintend over the air component of war against Boko Haram, the CAS said three Divisional Air Liaison Officers (DALO), had been appointed for the Nigerian Army’s 3 Armourer Division in Jos, as well as 7 and 8 Divisions in the Northeast.
According to the Air Chief, the NAF had made significant progress, with the acquisition of attack helicopters, including 2 Mi-35M helicopters, training of more pilots, who have since been deployed.
He added that this was the first time the NAF was training a female fighter pilot who, having graduated as the best among her mates, had been sent to the United States’ Air Force,for further training.
His words: “The NAF had activated additional platforms which had been deployed for operations in the Northeast. For example, one Bell 412 Helicopter had been activated while work on the second one would be completed before the end of the month.
“One Mi-35P Helicopter is being reactivated and should be ready for operation by January 2018 ending. The overhauled engines needed for the reactivation had already arrived in Nigeria. The reactivation is being done locally to further build the capacity of NAF technical personnel and also save cost.
“So, foreign technical experts had been invited to execute the project in conjunction with NAF engineers and technicians.
“The 2 additional Mi-35M helicopters recently procured for the NAF by the Federal Government had been test flown in Russia and should be operational in Nigeria by February 2018.
“Therefore, total of 5 combat helicopters are being added to the NAF counterinsurgency efforts.”
On training, Abubakar noted thus: “A number of pilots had completed their training and deployed for operational duties.
“A female pilot, for the first time in the history of the NAF, was on the way to the United States Air Force for training as a fighter pilot, having graduated as the overall best pilot during ab-initio training at 401 Flying Training School Kaduna.”