The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says it will take delivery of two helicopter gunships from Italy before December.
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, announced this at the opening of the 3rd Quarter Chief of Air Staff Conference 2019 on Monday in Abuja.
He said a team from the NAF had left the country for Italy to inspect the two aircraft, adding that “certainly, the two helicopters gunships will be delivered before December.’’
Abubakar also said that substantial progress had been made in the production of the SuperTucano aircraft which the Federal Government had ordered from the United States.
In April, the NAF said it would acquire additional 18 aircraft, including 12 SuperTucano to boost its air asset.
“We have two senior officers there (in US) monitoring the level of production of the aircraft (SuperTucano).
“The report we are receiving from them clearly shows that progress is being made in the production of the aircraft.
“We are expecting a team from the United States in December, to look at the base where the SuperTucano will be taken to,’’ he said.
Abubakar said that in terms of operations, the NAF had done well in supporting ground troops.
He added that the NAF had equally recorded successes in the maintenance of its aircraft, putting their serviceability status at 73 per cent.
“In the areas of training, I know we have done extremely well with the last winging of 13 pilots that had been trained. We have quite a number of them that are being trained in different parts of the world and in Nigeria.’’
He also promised to do everything possible to ensure that personnel welfare was met.
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“We believe that the human being is the most important asset; human being can take care of aircrafts and other things.’’
The air chief said substantial progress was being made in the activation of grounded aircraft.
The CAS Conference is a quarterly meeting with the Branch Chiefs, Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Directors, Commanders and Air Vice Marshals (AVMs).
The conference affords NAF leadership the opportunity to assess the performance of the service and strategise for challenges as well as review progress made in previous quarter.