By Augustine Ehikioya
To position the Nigerian Army to effectively tackle security challenges facing the country, the Federal Government of Nigeria has supported the operationalization of Nigerian Army Aviation by approving the acquisition of the initial 12 MD 530F Cayuse Attack Helicopters.
This is towards the actualization of the operationalization of the Nigerian Army (NA) Aviation.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja made the revelation on Tuesday 26 September, 2023, while declaring open the Nigerian Army Aviation maiden seminar on Aviation Security Awareness at the Army Headquarters Command Officers’ Mess 1, Abuja.
At the seminar, Security Watch Africa (SWA) gathered that the Army Chief explained that “The acquisition of the new attack helicopters is part of ongoing efforts by the Federal Government to boost the operational capabilities of the Army Aviation to appropriately respond to contemporary and emerging security threats.
The 3 Day Seminar themed: “Enhancing the Capacity of the Nigerian Army Aviation towards Achieving Constitutional Responsibilities in a Joint Environment”, the COAS also expressed gratitude to the Federal Government under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for buying into the aspiration of the Nigerian Army Aviation and committing itself to making history.
The Army Chief noted that “the Nigerian Army Aviation is being proactive by organizing the first Nigerian Army Aviation Seminar, which is in line with his Command Philosophy of “Transforming the Nigerian Army into a Well-trained, Equipped and Highly Motivated Force towards achieving its Constitutional Responsibilities within a Joint Environment.”
He noted that the seminar will serve as a veritable platform to deliberate on critical issues and share invaluable insights regarding the future of the Nigerian Army Aviation.
General Lagbaja also revealed that since 2014, the Nigerian Army has made commendable progress in training pilots, aircraft engineers, technicians, and other ground support crews.
Stressing that the Nigerian Army understands the highly technical nature of the aviation business and the need to be appropriately mentored, he backed its international collaborations and submission of its nascent aviation outfit to the mentoring of the Nigerian Air Force, as the Service does not have the luxury of making mistakes when it can learn from other experienced aviation outfits .
Listing the critical role of NA aviation, the Army Chief said that the outfit is set up to improve the agility, responsiveness, and efficacy of the ground troops, while contributing to the overall operational success of joint and coalition forces, support those on the ground and focus on tactical and operational engagements.
He maintained that the Air Force undertakes more complex tasks to achieve strategic effects.
The COAS stressed that experiences of some member nations of the international community are “instructive and depict effectiveness in countering contemporary security threats through vital support to ground forces.”
Ideas from the seminar, the COAS noted, will help strengthen NA aviation capabilities “through capacity building, infrastructure development and guide further acquisition of cutting-edge platforms for the growth and development of a viable Nigerian Army Aviation.”
In his address, the Acting Coordinator, Nigerian Army Aviation, Brigadier General Musa Alkali said that the NA recognizes the pivotal role of aviation in bolstering ground operations and addressing the evolving security challenges confronting the nation.