Secretary Of United States Air Force Reassures NAF Of Enhanced Relationship

 

The United States Department of Defence has promised to enhance its defence cooperation with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in the fight against insurgency and other forms of criminality.

The U.S. Department also assured the Service of its commitment towards strengthening the strategic partnership.

This was disclosed in a statement signed on Tuesday by NAF’s Director of Public Relations and Information Air Vice Marshal  Ibikunle Daramola

The assurance was given Tuesday by the Secretary of the United States Air Force (USAF), Honourable Barbara Barrett, who was on a courtesy visit to the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, at the Headquarters NAF (HQ NAF) Abuja.

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She paid the visit alongside, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard.

Barrett noted that the partnership with the NAF would be in the areas of equipment and platform acquisition, training as well as additional opportunities in the area of air operations, amongst others.

She said the partnership had become necessary to further enhance professionalism and build the needed capacity for the effective and efficient employment of airpower.

“We appreciate the past and we also look forward to a better relationship in the future. We are also looking at ways that we can impact our relationship through equipment, training, and various opportunities for operations, maintenance, and use of aircraft and equipment. We are really conscious that the Air Force of Nigeria is a highly respected and professional entity and we think that, throughout Africa, the NAF is an entity we would like to partner with”, she said.

Secretary USAF noted that the United States (US) was aware of the security challenges confronting Nigeria and therefore reassured the NAF of her support.

“We are conscious of the challenges that the country is facing, especially in the North East and North West. The entire world needs Nigeria to be successful. Accordingly, we will partner with you in the appropriate ways. We are very much on your side to make great things happen; to get the right things done and to do them in the right way.

“We would like to build on our past and grow a stronger relationship. We are attentive to the need to use available resources well; we know that has been something that the Nigerian leadership has been attentive to as well. So as we build that future, we want you to know that it is a great US-Nigeria relationship that we look forward to enhancing”, she said.

She, therefore, expressed her appreciation to the CAS for the warm reception accorded her and her team.

In his remarks, the CAS described Hon Barrett’s visit as a demonstration of the commitment of partnership between the two countries’ air forces. He noted that the US played a significant role in the successes being recorded in the theatre of operations of the NAF. He disclosed that NAF personnel had been trained in various specialties in the US, with some currently undergoing training.

NAF Destroys Boko Haram’s Gun Trucks, Neutralises Several Other Terrorists – Spokesman

Nigeria Air Force Helicopter

 

Nigerian Air Force has destroyed some gun trucks belonging to Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State.

In a statement by the Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, says that the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has dealt yet another blow on insurgents operating in the North East of the country, with the elimination of Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) and destruction of their gun trucks at Ajiri in Borno State.

He said that the success was achieved on December 19, 2020 sequel to reports that the terrorists, in about 7 gun trucks, had attempted to breach Ajiri, a settlement in Mafa Local Government Area of the State.

“Accordingly, the Air Task Force dispatched an appropriate force package of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) helicopter gunships to engage the BHTs.

“The NAF gunships delivered accurate hits, destroying 2 of the gun trucks and neutralizing several terrorists”.

 

PHOTOS: NAF Explains Role In ‘Rescue’ Of Kankara Schoolboys

A photo released by NAF on December 18, 2020, shows some military personnel involved in the effort that led to the return of the Kankara schoolboys.

 

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has explained the roles it played in efforts that led to the return of the students kidnapped from the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina State.

In a post on its verified Facebook page on Friday, the force revealed that it deployed additional air assets, including Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft to Katsina hours after the students were abducted.

According to the NAF, the additional air assets were deployed on Saturday last week to provide persistent surveillance over identified areas of interest within Katsina and Zamfara States.

While this was ongoing, it stated that its personnel maintained offensive air presence to deny the abductors freedom of action.

The force added that as soon as the schoolboys regained their freedom, they were safely returned to the Katsina State Government House on Friday morning, escorted by a combined team of personnel from various security agencies with air cover provided by the NAF.

It noted that NAF medical personnel were also part of the team that provided immediate care to the boys after their release from the forest.

“Additional NAF Special Forces personnel were also deployed to provide support,” the force said.

See the photos below:

Air Force Graduates 203 Special Forces, CSAR Operatives To Battle Insurgents, Bandits

NAF newly graduated officers during the graduation ceremony

 

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has graduated a fresh batch of 203 Special Forces and Combat Search and Rescue Personnel (CSAR).

The combined graduation ceremony, which took place on Saturday at the Regiment Training Centre (RTC) Annex in Bauchi, comprised 162 students of the SF Course 7/2020 and 41 trainees of CSAR Course 3/2020.

Speaking during the graduation ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, charged the graduating participants to bring to bear the professional skills acquired, in the ongoing campaign to restore normalcy to restive parts of the country.

According to him, the personnel were graduating at a time when the NAF and indeed the Nation were in dire need of their special skills.

“Your job will not be an easy one as you would be required to operate under austere conditions and in hostile environments to ensure that the NAF achieves its objectives,” he said.

He further stated that, in order to bridge the capability gap in SF and CSAR operations, the NAF established the Special Operations Command (SOC) with its Headquarters in Bauchi and Quick Response Groups/Wings (QRG/QRW) in Gusau, Owerri, Ipetu-Ijesha, Daura, Birnin Gwari, Agatu, Gembu and Lafia, amongst others.

Air Marshal Abubakar disclosed that the NAF had, subsequently, trained over 1,200 personnel both overseas and locally in its bid to generate SF and CSAR teams to man the established units.

According to him, international training partners were also engaged to train NAF personnel in order to sustain SF training in the NAF.

Since its inception, the CAS said, the NAF SF has been used effectively for force protection, force projection as well as Base Defence, amongst others.

“I am happy to note here today that our SF personnel have performed commendably well when deployed in conjunction with other security agencies in various theatres of operation. Their performance has proven that enhancing the capacity and capability of our personnel is the best way of ensuring the attainment of our operational goals and objectives”, he said.

The consideration to train CSAR operatives locally, the CAS revealed, was as a result of insufficient training slots and high cost of overseas training. He further disclosed that the Directorate of Regiment was accordingly tasked to develop a local training curriculum with the objective of ensuring that the NAF has personnel capable of rescuing downed aircrew in all terrains and weather conditions anywhere in Nigeria.

“It is indeed gratifying to note that their training here is yielding the expected benefits. More so, it is evident that there is a remarkable improvement in the quality of training with the demonstration I earlier witnessed from both courses,” he said.

While congratulating the participants, the CAS urged them to imbibe the attributes of SF operatives, which include honesty, courage, perseverance and adaptability, among others.

He also implored them to always remember the NAF’s core values of ‘Integrity’, ‘Service’ and ‘Excellence’ while on their future deployments as this would ensure success in their endeavours.

While reminding the personnel that the scourge of COVID-19 was not yet over, the CAS noted that the NAF, in line with its constitutional role of providing Military Aid to Civil Authority, had been engaged in medical outreach programmes and provision of palliatives in all geo-political zones whilst also emplacing appropriate protective measures and embarking on aggressive enlightenment campaigns to educate personnel and their families on the dangers of the virus as well as how to prevent it.

NAF Strikes Kill Several Bandits, Destroy Hideouts In Zamfara

 

The Nigerian Air Force strikes have killed several bandits and destroyed their hideouts and logistics items in a forested high ground area near Bayan Ruwa in Zamfara State.

Bandits destroy hideout place

In a statement by the Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, said that the success was achieved by airstrikes executed on 1 and 2 December 2020 pursuant to credible Human Intelligence (HUMINT) reports and confirmatory surveillance missions indicating that a group of armed bandits.

The group is said to be led by one Jummo, who has ties to terrorist elements in the North East, had established a camp at the location, where they kept their motorcycles, high-caliber weapons as well as scores of rustled cattle.

He noted that the Air Component dispatched an appropriate force package of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jets and helicopter gunships, which acquired and engaged the target area in successive passes, killing some of the bandits and their leaders and destroying portions of the camp, including their logistics storage, which was seen engulfed in flames.

 

Air Force Commissions 10 Logistics Trucks In Adamawa To Tackle Insecurity

 

The Nigerian Air Force has commissioned 10 trucks in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, as part of efforts to boost the nation’s fight against insecurity.

According to the NAF Chief of logistics, air vice Marshall Aminu Yakubu, since 2015, the Force has inducted 22 aircraft while 18 additional ones are being expected.

Air Vice Marshall Yakubu stated this during the inauguration of refurbished Nigeria Customs Service Auctioned Trucks at the Nigerian Air Force base in Yola on Saturday, where he represented the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar.

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NigeriaAt60: Comic Book Launched In Honour Of Tolulope Arotile

The book cover

 

A comic book titled ‘Girls Can Fly’ has been launched in honour of late flying officer, Tolulope Arotile.

Arotile, Nigeria’s first-ever female combat helicopter pilot died in an accident on July 14, 2020, in Kaduna State at the age of 24.

The Heroes Comic Series was launched on Friday by the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar at an event organised by the Ministry of Youths and Sports in partnership with ‘I Choose Life Foundation.’

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The comic book is for children between ages three-13. It is written to serve as a source of encouragement to young Nigerians to make choices that will benefit them and their nation.

It is also aimed to be a source of inspiration to the girl-child.

Tolulope Arotile

 

Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar during the launch of the book described Arotile as a gallant officer whose heroic acts will never be forgotten.

The event, which is organised with the aim of celebrating the Spirit of Young Nigerians had in attendance the Minister of Youths and Sports, Sunday Dare; Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, and the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.

The news of Arotile’s death in July 2020 shook the nation, leaving many saddened by her demise at a prime age.

The NAF later immortalised Arotile in September by naming a Pilot’s Crew Room after her.

CAS Abubakar during the launch of the renovated and remodelled Pilots’ Crew ‘Room’ at the 115 Special Operations Group (115 SOG) in Port Harcourt said immortalising the deceased was in fulfilment of the Force’s promise.

Fight Against Insurgency: NAF Wings 4 New Pilots, Trains 139 In Last Five Years

 

In furtherance of its capacity-building efforts to tackle various internal security challenges in the country, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has graduated another set of 6 pilots in tactical and basic flying.

The combined graduation ceremony, which took place today, 29 September 2020, comprised 2 pilots of the Tactical Flying Course 24 (Batch B), and 4 student pilots of the Basic Flying Course 19 (Batch A).

Among the graduands awarded Limited Combat Rating Certificate after completing the Tactical Flying Course on the Alpha Jet aircraft during today’s ceremony was the first female fixed-wing fighter pilot in the history of the NAF, Flying Officer Kafayat Sanni.

In his remarks at the graduation ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who was also the guest of honour, noted that human capacity development, being one of the key drivers of his vision, has received much attention since he assumed office as the twentieth Chief of the Air Staff.

“This is evident in the number of personnel that have been trained in various courses, both locally and overseas. Indeed, today’s graduation brings the total number of new pilots winged since 2015 to 118, and by the end of 2020, the NAF would have completed the training and winging of 139 pilots, which is a glowing testament to the efficacy of our capacity building initiatives.

“These pilots have continued to add value to the efforts of the Service in dealing with security challenges in the North East, North West and other parts of the country,” he said.

The CAS further stated that, while a good number of NAF officers were undergoing various pilot training courses outside the country, the indigenous training institutions had continued to play a crucial role towards the attainment of the NAF’s capacity building initiatives.

He expressed satisfaction that 403 Flying Training School, Kano, and 407 Air Combat Training Group, Kainji, where the graduands were trained, had continued to set the pace in the provision of high-quality fighter pilot training.

While encouraging the 4 newly winged pilots, the CAS reminded them that they cannot afford to rest on their oars at this time, as the feat they had achieved also comes with a burden of responsibility with so much expected of them, not only by the NAF but indeed the Nigerian people, whose scarce resources were used to train them.

He, therefore, urged them to continue to give their best to the Service and the nation.

While addressing the operational pilots, Air Marshal Abubakar, stated that their 18 months was deliberately made tedious with series of training sorties and several tactical manoeuvres executed to the high standards expected of NAF fighter pilots.

According to him, “all these were aimed at giving you the requisite skills to prepare you for the tasks ahead.

“I must emphasize that, now that you have earned your Limited Combat Rating, you will be required to work harder and fly with more precision in order to meet up with the expectations of Nigerians in the various operational theatres. There shall be no hiding place for armed bandits or terrorists in any of our forests” he assured.

The CAS expressed particular delight that Flying Officer Sanni, who was decorated with her pilot wings as the first female fixed-wing fighter pilot in the history of the NAF on 15 October 2019, had made history yet again, by successfully completing the Tactical Flying Training on the Alpha Jet aircraft.

He noted that Flying Officer Sanni and her colleagues were now better trained and prepared to be deployed for combat missions in the ongoing counter-insurgency air operations in the North-East and other parts of the country.

“You will go down in the history of our nation as the first female fixed-wing fighter pilot to undertake combat missions in defence of our freedom and sacred values. You will be undertaking combat missions to assert our right to our territory and protect the lives and property of our people”, the CAS added.

Air Marshal Abubakar further noted that the NAF’s ability to effectively and efficiently project Air Power has also been significantly enhanced by the Federal Government’s support in the areas of platforms acquisition and reactivation as well as training and approval to expand NAF’s field units.

He, therefore, appreciated the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari for his unflinching support to the NAF.

The CAS also appreciated the National Assembly, especially the Chairmen and members of the Senate and House Committees on Air Force for their continued support to the Service.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Chief of Training and Operation, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) James Gwani, noted that the graduation of the pilots further lends credence to one of the Key Drivers of the CAS’ Vision, which is “Human capacity development through robust and result oriented training for enhanced professional performance”.

He added that the graduation of the pilots would undoubtedly further enhance the NAF’s capacity for effective, efficient, and timely employment of air power in response to Nigeria’s national security imperatives.

While giving the highlights of the 2 courses, the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command (AOC ATC), AVM Musa Mukhtar, stated that the Basic Flying Course 24B, which commenced in March 2019, comprised 2 phases; the ground academics and flying training phases.

He noted that the ground academics phase lasted 14 weeks, covering subjects such as Aerospace Physiology, Aircraft System, and Aircraft Operation Orders, amongst others.

Areas covered in the flying training phase, which required each student to fly an average of 130 sorties, included General Handling, Instrument Flying, Navigation as well as Night and Formation Flying.

He remarked that the Tactical Flying Course 19A, which lasted 18 months, was also conducted in 2 phases, the Conversion and Tactical phases, covering Air to Ground Weapons Delivery Theory, Tactical Deliveries, and Mission Planning, amongst others, with each trainee flying 35 and 40 hours in each phase, respectively.

Banditry: We Will Continue Fighting Until Every Civilian Is Safe – NAF

Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar briefing journalists on Thursday

 

 

The Nigerian Air Force has assured total commitment to intensify the fight against Banditry until every civilian is safe.

This follows the activities of armed bandits terrorising innocent citizens in the Northwest Region especially Zamfara, Katsina and Sokoto States.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar disclosed this on Thursday in Katsina during his operational tour to assess the level of efforts and progress made so far by the Air Components of a new subsidiary Operation tagged ‘WUTAR DAJI 2′ launched four days ago.

While addressing the troops and other Air components involved in the Banditry fight in the Northwest, Abubakar expressed satisfaction with the substantial progress achieved so far since the beginning of the operation.

The Air Components he said to have in the last four days flown over one hundred hours with different missions which he believes has translated into the relative peace witnessing in the affected states.

“They decimated several Bandits and destroyed their several locations both within Katsina and Zamfara states. They have equally eliminated several targets, bandits locations within Katsina and Zamfara states.

“We have also assessed and inspected the officers’ accommodation facilities that are currently under construction at the 213 NAF Forward Operating Base, Katsina to ensure that officers get decent accommodation.

“The objective of the operation is to decimate Bandits operations in the forest and make sure that they have no place.

“We will continue to work to clear the bandits in their various locations to ensure that banditry is substantially brought to an end.

“There is substantial progress in terms of security in the Northeast and Central zones. We will continue fighting until nobody is coming out to kill Civilians. So the operation is ongoing until such a time we are satisfied that we have sufficiently decimated all bandits and Communities are living in peace and harmony”.

The Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji had earlier decimated a Bandits’Camp in the Doumborou Forest area of Zamfara state.

The Air Strike, which was executed on September 13th, 2020, as part of a new subsidiary Operation, tagged ‘WUTAR DAJI 2’ also resulted in the killing of several armed bandits belonging to the gang led by the so-called ‘Dangote’.

NAF Graduates Another Set Of Student Pilots From 401 FTS, Trains 145 In 5 Years

 

In its resolve to ensure the availability of well-trained pilots to prosecute the ongoing war against insurgency, banditry, and other forms of criminality in the country, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) today, 10 September 2020, graduated additional 29 student pilots who have completed their ab-initio flying training at the 401 Flying Training School (401 FTS), Kaduna.

The graduating students, who are members of 66 Regular Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), comprising 27 male and 2 female officers, commenced training as flight cadets of NDA on 7 January 2019 as members of Student Pilots Course 46 (SP 46). With today’s graduation, the NAF has successfully graduated 145 student pilots from 401 FTS in the last 5 years.

While congratulating the graduands of SP 46 for withstanding the rigours, hard work, and stress associated with the training, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, stated that his Administration’s drive to continually develop the adequate capacity for effective, efficient and timely employment of Air Power in response to national security imperatives remains on course.

The CAS noted that SP 46 had successfully conducted their flying training on both the Diamond 40 and Super Mushshak aircraft types, which according to him, was a positive deviation from what was obtainable in the past.

The feat, he said, would not have been achieved if not for the dedication of the ground instructors, instructor pilots as well as prompt and effective aircraft maintenance and availability of aviation fuel which ensured qualitative training.

Air Marshal Abubakar enjoined the graduands to maintain the same attitude of dogged determination as they proceed to the next phase of military flying training while reminding them that there is more work to be done to earn their wings.

He charged them to continue to exhibit the right aptitude and attitude as well as determination in order to improve their flying skills.

“You must continually develop survival skills and be prepared to safely navigate platforms most especially at night and in all weather conditions” he added.

The CAS further stated that at the inception of his Administration in 2015, 401 FTS had only 3 Diamond-40 platforms for the conduct of flying training.

The grossly inadequate number and the unsuitability of the platform for aerobatics and other unusual manoeuvres, he said, significantly diminished the ability of the NAF to conduct military flying training.

“Today, we have 15 platforms with a wide range of capabilities enabling quality training.

This has empowered 401 FTS to train a total of 145 student pilots from the end of 2015 to date. Additionally, 24 Instructor Pilots and 15 UAV pilots have also been trained within the same period.

These numbers represent the attainment of a remarkable feat that had previously eluded the NAF”, he said. The CAS, therefore, commended the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command (AOC ATC), Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Musa Mukhtar, as well as the Commander 401 FTS, Air Commodore Ahmed Idris, and his entire staff for their efforts in realizing this feat.

The CAS also thanked the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his continued support and belief in the ability of the NAF. He noted that the timely provision of the much-needed air assets, as well as the resources to buy spares, aviation fuel, and other consumables by the Federal Government, was the most important factor that has translated into the commendable achievements recorded by the Service.

Furthermore, he noted that the NAF’s ability to wing 114 pilots in the last 5 years has led to a vibrant application of Air Power in combating the security challenges facing the Country. According to him, the multiplier effect has been a boost especially in the counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts in the North East as well as the fight against armed banditry in the North West and North Central Zones of the Country.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Commander 401 FTS, while thanking the CAS for his unrelenting support to the Unit, stated that the Course was the first of its kind to have flown 2 different platforms; the Diamond 40 and Super Mushshak aircraft during the course of their training.

He said the Unit achieved such feat even when it had to contend with other demanding tasks.

The Commander noted that alongside the training of student pilots, the Unit is also actively involved in airlift/VIP flights as well as Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions in support of Operations THUNDER STRIKE and HADARIN DAJI against armed bandits in parts of North-West and North-Central Zones.

According to him, the student pilots began their training with ground academic phase, which lasted for a period of 16 weeks, followed by the various stages of the flying phase with all 29 of them successfully completing the course with satisfactory levels of airmanship.

One of the highlights of the colorful event, which also had the NAF Chief of Training and Operations, AVM James Gwani, as well as the Commandants of the NDA and Armed Forces Command and Staff College in attendance, was the presentation of certificates to the graduating students.

Awards were also presented to graduands who distinguished themselves on the Course, with Flying Officer Ja’afar Abdulkadir bagging both the Best in Academics as well as the Best All Round Student’s Awards, while Flying Officer Nicholas Egong clinched the Best in Flying Award.

Below are some photos from the ceremony.

NAF Neutralises Bandits In Kaduna

12 Bandits, Killed 15 Victims Rescued In North-West – NAF
A file photo of a military helicopter.

 

The Nigerian Air Force special Operation Thunder Strike, has neutralised several armed bandits at the Kuduru and Kwaimbana forest areas of Kaduna State.

According to a statement by the coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, this was achieved through separate air strikes carried out on the 2nd and 3rd of September 2020 on the basis of credible intelligence reports.

Major General Enenche went on to say that the attack on the Kuduru forest hideout was executed after aerial reconnaissance missions observed significant number of armed bandits around some compounds in a small settlement within the forest.

Consequently, the air component dispatched Nigerian Air Force (NAF) jets and helicopter gunships to attack the location.

“The attack aircraft took turns in strafing the target area leading to the neutralization of several of the bandits as well as damage to their dwellings.

“At the Kwaimbana Forest, where some bandits were seen along with many rustled cattle around some huts and makeshift structures, the NAF jets and helicopter gunships engaged the area in successive passes, taking out some of the bandits,” the statement read in part.

 

NAF Destroys Bandits Camp In Kaduna

 

Air Component of the Nigerian Air Force has destroyed several armed bandits at their camp in the Kuduru Forest area of Kaduna State.

A statement by the Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major General John Eneche states that the operation was achieved through airstrikes carried out on 13 August 2020 on the heels of intelligence reports indicating the convergence of members of an Ansaru Terrorist Sect-linked bandits group, led by one Mallam Abba, at the location.

“Aerial surveillance missions conducted over the area also observed several bandits, some wielding weapons, in the forest.

“Nigerian Air Force (NAF) jets and helicopter gunships were therefore tasked to attack the location”.

The statement further noted that several of the bandits were killed as the attack aircraft strafed the area, while others attempting to escape were mopped-up in follow-on attacks.