Air Chief Pleased With Maintenance Progress On Alpha Jets In NAF Base

Photos: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun


The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has stated that the ongoing in-country Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) of some Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jets, includes significant avionics upgrades that will enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of air operations conducted with the aircraft.

The CAS disclosed this on Thursday while on an inspection visit to assess the progress of the PDM being executed at the 407 Air Combat Training Group (407 ACTG) Kainji, Niger State, as well as other ongoing projects at NAF Base Kainji.

The CAS, who was accompanied by other senior officers from Headquarters (HQ) NAF as well as the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command (AOC ATC), Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Suleiman, was briefed on the progress of work by the Commander 407 ACTG, Squadron Leader Kingsley Igwegbe.

Igwegbe stated that the team of technical expatriates from Arlington Jets, United State of America, working jointly with NAF engineers and technicians, had begun work on preparing some of the parts of the airframe of the aircraft that had been shipped abroad for repairs and returned to Nigeria for mounting on the aircraft, while the upgrade of the avionics to meet current acceptable standards was progressing steadily.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Air Force Will Only Reward Professionalism, Says Air Chief

He observed that the avionics upgrade would not only enhance operational safety but also increase the reliability and effectiveness of the aircraft. Moreover, he noted that the challenges associated with unavailability of the spares for the old system would be eliminated as spares would now be readily available for prompt maintenance. He pledged that the team would continue to work tirelessly to ensure the job was completed on schedule.

While addressing the press after the inspection tour, the CAS expressed delight at the level of work done on the first 3 Alpha Jets and commended the Commander 407 ACTG as well as the team of NAF engineers and technicians for their hard work, commitment and dedication in ensuring steady progress of the job.

He urged them not to relent in their efforts at ensuring excellent and timely completion of the job. He emphasized that, apart from hastening the overall timeframe of the maintenance job, the in-country PDM, would allow the NAF personnel involved in the project to build their capacity to enable them ultimately carry out major aspects of such high-level maintenance activities on their own in the future.

The CAS, therefore, urged the personnel to make maximum use of the opportunity to enhance NAF’s self-reliance. He noted that completion of the in-country PDM would boost the NAF’s Air Power employment capability by increasing the number of Alpha Jet aircraft available for combat operations in the various Theatres of Operation.

Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar recalled that a similar life extension maintenance had been carried out recently on three L-39ZA aircraft in Kano, while an in-country PDM was also successfully carried out on a C-130 Hercules aircraft in Lagos, with the PDM of another C-130 also currently ongoing.

Furthermore, he disclosed that reactivation work on another Mi-35P helicopter was also in progress is in Portharcourt. He highlighted that, apart from building the capacity of NAF personnel, these local maintenance efforts had also resulted in huge foreign exchange savings for the Nation.

See photos of the inspection tour below:

Nigerian Air Force Bombards Boko Haram Locations In Borno

Nigerian-Air-Force-Air-Stikes-Against-Boko-HaramThe Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has continued efforts to flush out remnants of the Boko Haram Terrorists in the northeast, with air strikes at suspected locations of the terrorists on the outskirts of Tumbin Gini and Tumbin Kayewa Northeastern Borno State.

A statement by the Air Force on Sunday said the bombardment occurred on Friday, September 16.

“The air strikes were as a result of ground based intelligence and successive Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance reports obtained from several missions flown by NAF platforms,” the statement read.

The Air Force said it believed the terrorists were holding a high-level meeting when NAF jets hit the locations.

It stated that a post-strike battle damage assessment of the strikes revealed that the rendezvous was badly damaged with many casualties while those far from the vicinity scrambled to safety.

Weaponised Alpha Jet

The aircrafts involved in the air strikes are the NAF F-7Ni and the Alpha jets.

According to the Air Force, its air offensives have continued to deny the terrorists any hiding place and room for manoeuvre.

“This has enabled unhindered advance by the surface forces as part of the ongoing Operation GAMA AIKI,” the statement further read.

The NAF had in an earlier operation successfully conducted air strikes on Boko Haram terrorists’ camps at Tumbin Rego on August 26 which led to the death of many high ranking members of the group.

The attack is coming nearly one month after the Nigerian Air Force reconfigured an alpha jet for combat role.

The Air Force stated that the achievement followed relentless efforts by the NAF Technical Response Team (TRT).

It says the latest conversion makes it the third alpha jet to be reconfigured under the leadership of the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.

The alpha jet has been reconfigured to carry both rockets and bombs during combat missions.

Newly weaponised NAF alpha jet returning to land after a test-flight
Newly weaponised NAF alpha jet ready for combat mission in Nigeria’s Northeast
Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar inspects newly weaponised alpha jet
Weaponised NAF alpha jet after arms delivery
NAF alpha jet lands after a test-flight

Arms Procurement Scam: Buhari Orders Arrest Of Culprits

armsPresident Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the arrest of persons indicted by the interim report of the investigative committee on arms procurement.

The order is in a release issued by the Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

The committee discovered that budgetary interventions in local currencies amounting to over 640 billion naira and foreign currency of about 2.2 billion dollars were siphoned by those entrusted with national security.

Even more disturbing, according to the statement, was the award of contracts to fictitious companies by the office of the National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki, resulting to wastages and theft of funds.

The federal government vows that all those who have been indicted by the committee would be rounded up and prosecuted.

The press release also said that a contract for the purchase of four alpha jets, 12 helicopters, bombs and ammunition were approved at the heat of the insurgency war in the north-east and up till date; there is no inventory of these supplies and that indeed the contract was not executed.

Full Statement

On the authority of Mr President, a 13 man committee was set up by the Office of  the National Security Adviser to audit the procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces and Defence sector from 2007 to date.

While the committee which was inaugurated on 31 August 2015 is yet to complete its work, its interim report has unearthed several illicit and fraudulent financial transactions.

As part of the findings, the committee has analyzed interventions from some organizations that provided funds to the Office of the National Security Adviser, Defence Headquarters, Army Headquarters, Naval Headquarters and Nigerian Air Force Headquarters, both in local and foreign currencies.

So far the total extra budgetary interventions articulated by the committee is Six Hundred and Forty Three Billion, Eight Hundred and Seventeen Million, Nine Hundred and Fifty Thousand, Eight Hundred and Eighty Five Hundred Naira and Eighteen Kobo (N643,817,955,885.18).

The foreign currency component is to the tune of Two Billion, One Hundred and Ninety Three Million, Eight Hundred and Fifteen Thousand US Dollars and Eighty Three Cents ($2,193,815,000.83).

These amounts exclude grants from the State Governments and funds collected by the DSS and Police. It was observed that in spite of this huge financial intervention, very little was expended to support defense procurement.

The committee also observed that of 513 contracts awarded at $8,356,525,184.32; N2,189,265,724,404.55 and €54,000.00; Fifty Three (53) were failed contracts amounting to $2,378,939,066.27 and N13,729,342,329.87 respectively.

Interestingly, it was noted that the amount of foreign currency spent on failed contracts was more than double the $1bn loan that the National Assembly approved for borrowing to fight the insurgency in the North East.

The committee also discovered that payments to the tune of Three Billion, Eight Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (N3,850,000,000.00) were made to a single company by the former NSA without documented evidence of contractual agreements or fulfilment of tax obligations to the FGN.

Further findings revealed that between March 2012 and March 2015, the erstwhile NSA, Lt Col MS Dasuki (rtd) awarded fictitious and phantom contracts to the tune of N2,219,188,609.50,  $1,671,742,613.58 and €9,905,477.00. The contracts which were said to be for the purchase of 4 Alpha Jets, 12 helicopters, bombs and ammunition were not executed and the equipment were never supplied to the Nigerian Air Force, neither are they in its inventory.

Even more disturbing was the discovery that out of these figures, 2 companies, were awarded contracts to the tune of N350,000,000.00, $1,661,670,469.71 and €9,905,477.00 alone. This was without prejudice to the consistent non-performance of the companies in the previous contracts awarded.

Additionally, it was discovered that the former NSA directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to transfer the sum of $132,050,486.97 and €9,905,473.55 to the accounts of Societe D’equipmente Internationaux in West Africa, United Kingdom and United States of America for un-ascertained purposes, without any contract documents to explain the transactions.

The findings made so far are extremely worrying considering that the interventions were granted within the same period that our troops fighting the insurgency in the North East were in desperate need of platforms, military equipment and ammunition. Had the funds siphoned to these non performing companies been properly used for the purpose they were meant for, thousands of needless Nigerian deaths would have been avoided.

Furthermore, the ridicule Nigeria has faced in the international community would have been avoided. It is worrisome and disappointing that those entrusted with the security of this great nation were busy using proxies to siphon the national treasury, while innocent lives were wasted daily.

In light of these findings, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that the relevant organizations arrest and bring to book, all individuals who have been found complicit in these illegal and fraudulent acts.