President Bola Tinubu on Tuesday reiterated his administration’s commitment to fighting the insecurity plaguing the country.
The president stated this when he inducted two T129 Attack Combat Helicopters and one King Air Beechcraft 360ER mobility aircraft for use by the Nigerian Air Force.
Represented by his Vice, Senator Kashim Shettima, the president said that the acquisition of the helicopters and the induction symbolises the commitment of his administration to the nation’s security.
The induction ceremony was held at the 131 Engineering Group Hanger, Nigeria Airforce Base, Makurdi.
The president said that the acquisition and induction of the new platforms would now improve NAF’s airpower in the ongoing war against terrorism.
The President acknowledged that since its establishment in 1964, “NAF has been playing a critical role in the nation’s security, international operations, and humanitarian needs.
“Let me commend the Chief of Air Staff, Officers, and men for their commitment to enhancing national security, I assure you that the Tinubu administration will continue to support NAF and another military, indeed, the Armed Forces of Nigeria towards combating terrorism, oil theft and other criminal activities.”
The president said that substantial progress had been achieved in ongoing counter-terrorism efforts but noted that there should be no cause for celebration yet until the security challenges are fully addressed.
The president called for a change in mindset, strategy, and tactics in addressing the menace.
Earlier in his speech, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, said that NAF had taken delivery of no fewer than seven aircraft.
He listed the new aircraft to include two Diamond 62 surveillance aircraft, 2 T-129 ATAK helicopters, and a King Air 360 ER.
The CAS, however, expressed assurance of NAF’s plan to induct 46 new aircraft of various types over the next 18 months
The CAS disclosed that currently, 170 NAF Pilots and 533 technicians are undergoing training locally and internationally.
In his remark, Minister of Defence, Mohamed Badaru, commended Tinubu for his foresight and dogged support of Nigeria’s armed forces.
He said the induction of the newly acquired aircraft is the testimony of the President’s resolve to tackle the problem of insecurity in the country and charged the personnel to handle them with care and always maintain them for efficient air operations.
Experts at the event said that the T129 ATAK is a twin-engine, tandem-seat, multi-role, all-weather attack helicopter based on the Agusta A129 Mangusta platform, developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries in partnership with Leonardo SPA.
The helicopter, it is understood is designed for armed reconnaissance and attack missions in hot and high environments and rough geography in both day and night conditions.
Highlights of the event were the signing of the handing over documents and aerial display by the T129 Attack Combat Helicopter.