The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, has said that the operational manpower of the Nigerian Air Force recently received a boost with the winging of 26 new pilots and 31 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) operators since his assumption of office.
This is even as the Air Chief noted that the Air Force currently have a total of 195 officers, airmen and airwomen undergoing various training courses abroad cutting across several specialties and trades.
He said on Saturday during a Christmas lunch with personnel of the air component of Operation Hadin Kai, in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, adding that the new deployments would boost the first against Boko Haram and other terrorists in the country.
He said in addition, 12 student pilots are undergoing Basic Fighter Training at 403 Flying Training School, Kano, while 12 others are undergoing Basic Transport Training at 401 Flying Training School, Kaduna.
He said the courses are aimed at maintaining combat readiness by increasing the number of pilots to man NAF’s ever-increasing inventory of aircraft.
“The lunch also provides an opportunity for us to remember our colleagues who have paid the supreme price in the service of our fatherland. We remember the sacrifices of these fallen heroes today, as always, whilst also praying for the continued peaceful repose of their gentle souls,” Alao said.
He said there is no gainsaying that the insecurity currently facing the nation and the challenges they present to the attainment of national developmental goals, require the emplacement of a robust security architecture capable of rapid employment of air power in the full spectrum of warfare.
He said, “The paradigm shift in the way air warfare is waged in the fulfillment of mission objectives necessitates a highly versatile Air Force capable of executing a wide range of air power roles across multiple Theaters of Operation to deal with these security threats.
“I am glad to say that the Nigerian Air Force, operating in concert with sister Services and other security agencies, has continued to courageously confront the threats, while recording tangible results in the various Theaters.”