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.
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: