BY OLALEYE ALUKO
Chief Of Air Staff Air Marshal Sadiq Abubkar
ABUJA, NIGERIA (PUNCH NEWSPAPERS) -- The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has said the Nigerian Air Force is expecting new fighter aircraft from no fewer than four countries to boost its capabilities.
He listed the countries as Russia, the United States of America, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.
Abubakar, who identified the NAF’s challenges as insufficient aircraft and low aircraft serviceability, said his men were working towards “more professionalism to meet the security imperatives.”
The air force chief stated this on Saturday at a lecture delivered to the Senior Course 40 at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Kaduna State.
The lecture was titled, ‘The Nigerian Air Force in Contemporary Warfare; the Chief of the Air Staff’s Vision for Future Engagements.’
According to Abubakar, while Nigeria is expecting eight Mi-35M attack helicopters from Russia, it is also waiting for the Super Tucano aircraft from the United States.
Moreover, there are five Super Mushshak aircraft expected from Pakistan, while the Yabhon Flash 20 Remote Piloted aircraft is also expected from the UAE.
Abubakar added, “The enormous cost of aircraft acquisition and maintenance infers that such should be carved out as extra-budgetary expenditure while platform maintenance and upgrade must also be moved from recurrent to capital expenditure.
“From a total of 10 Mi-35M helicopters expected, the service has already acquired two, while an additional two are in the production line and to be delivered soon. There is also an indication of the sale of the Super Tucano aircraft by the United States Government.
“Furthermore, out of the expected 10 Super Mushshak primary trainer aircraft procured, five have been inducted into the NAF inventory to enhance flight training.
“In the same vein, efforts are ongoing for the acquisition of the Super Tucano Light Attack Aircraft and delivery of the Yabhon Flash 20 Remote Piloted Aircraft.”
The air chief stated that the NAF also had to compete with local and international aviation industry for the limited aviation engineers in the country.