By Monday Ijeh
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, has commended Federal Government’s commitment towards enhancing the operational capacity of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).
Abubakar said so far, more than 70 new aircraft were acquired by the government to boost training and combat readiness of the NAF.
The CAS made the remarks during his maiden meeting with Air Officers’ Commanding, Branch Chiefs, Field Commanders and Commandants, on Thursday in Abuja.
”It is gratifying to note that the Federal Government has since 2015, acquired about 70 new aircraft to boost training and combat readiness of the NAF.
“In the coming months, we will be taking delivery of additional platforms to boost air power employment and projection capabilities as well as air combat training.
“No doubt, these acquisitions are clear signs of the Federal Government’s willingness to lead in combating national and regional threats to peace and security.
“Efforts have also been emplaced to enhance platform serviceability, which has led to us, maintaining an average serviceability status of over 70 per cent with positive implications on ongoing joint and independent operations,” he said.
He said with efforts emplaced to enhance platform serviceability vis-à-vis current security environment, only a carefully thought-out strategy guided by a strong philosophy could adequately situate NAF to address the nation’s security challenges.
The CAS told the commanders that the focus of his policy was “to transform the NAF into an agile and resilient force that effectively meets the airpower demands of national security in all operational environments.”
Abubakar said that NAF would leverage on technology, innovation, lessons learnt as well as the personnel and fleets at its disposal to effectively checkmate the security threats confronting the country.
The Air Force Chief pledged to ensure the optimisation of NAF structures and establishments to enhance operational effectiveness, as well as deliberate training and mission-oriented force development.
He said other enablers were proactive logistics support and strong maintenance culture, prioritising research and development, leveraging cutting-edge technology, strategic partnerships and lessons learnt.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting witnessed the handing over of seven Hilux vehicles to some Air Warrant Officers by the CAS.
Abubakar said the handover of the vehicles was in line with his command philosophy of motivating officers, airmen and airwomen to drive policies, plans, programmes and activities to achieve the objectives of NAF.
“The Service thus, places high premium on ensuring that personnel remain highly motivated to deliver their best at all times for enhanced operational effectiveness.
“This is achieved by ensuring the welfare of our personnel is given adequate priority and that selflessness is rewarded.
“Handing over these Hilux vehicles is a practical commitment in this regard,” he said. (NAN)