Two new fighter pilots as well as two combat helicopter pilots, who recently completed their trainings in United States of America (USA), were on Tuesday, winged by the Nigeria’s Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Isiaka Oladayo Amao.
Security Watch Africa reports that the winging of the officers, Abubakar Alkali, Elijah Karatu, Salihu Yadudu and Emmanuel Olagunju, all Flight Officers, is said to be the winging of the youngest NAF pilots.
Speaking during the ceremony which held at MD Umar Blue Room, Headquarters Nigerian Air Force, the CAS emphasised on the need to have sufficient number of well-trained aviators.
Stating that several other officers were also still undergoing training both locally and abroad, Amao said the trainings were to equip operatives with the requisite skills to effectively and efficiently employ airpower in the fight against insecurity.
The CAS said: “Today’s ceremony bears glowing testament to our commitment towards ‘enhancing and sustaining critical airpower capabilities required for joint force employment in pursuit of our national security imperatives’. This is based on the fact that we cannot effectively and efficiently employ airpower if we do not have sufficient number of well-trained aviators and support personnel.
“Accordingly, we shall sustain our efforts in pursuing purposeful training and human capacity development for our personnel. In line with this drive, I am glad to note that the Nigerian Air Force has several other pilots as well as personnel from other specialties undergoing various training courses both at home and abroad.
“For instance, we currently have a total of 233 officers and airmen/airwomen undergoing training courses overseas, cutting across several specialties and trades. Out of this number, four student pilots are in the Czech Republic undergoing basic fighter training on the L-39 aircraft. In the same vein, two student pilots are undergoing helicopter training at United States of America, while additional two have been processed to join them in the coming days. Furthermore, 10 pilots are in the United Kingdom undergoing basic helicopter pilot training.
“Additionally, another 17 are in South Africa undergoing basic fixed-wing pilot training. All these are aimed at maintaining combat readiness at significantly higher levels to counter both domestic and foreign threats to the Nation’s security and wellbeing.”
While congratulating the young pilots on the new feat, he urged them to be relentless in pursuit of excellence and professionalism as operational pilots, while working with their colleagues across other specialties in the Service.
“You must also strive to imbibe the doctrine of jointness in the forward lines as you interact with personnel from sister Services and other security agencies in various Theatres of Operation nationwide for more enduring results.
“On a final note, I urge you all to remain whole heartedly committed to the successful execution of our constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of our dear nation; as we have that onerous responsibility of providing an environment that is safe for all law-abiding citizens to pursue their legitimate aspirations without fear,” he stated.
The Air Force Chief also appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari, for his unwavering commitment to the development and enhancement of the Armed Forces, in general, and the Nigerian Air Force, in particular.
He commended the Chief of Training and Operations (CTOP), as well as the Director of Training and all others who played a role in the training of the young pilots.
In his remark, the CTOP said two of the officers had completed the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) at United States Air Force training facilities in Mississippi and Texas while two others completed Basic Military Helicopter as well as Mission and Tactics Training at United States Army Aviation Flight School, Fort Rucker and Western Army Aviation Training Site, Arizona, United States.
He said: “These young offers have gone through the rigours of flying training and their inclusion into the pilots’ corp would no doubt boost the strength of pilots especially as the NAF is inducting and expecting more platforms to combat the various security challenges across the country.”