The Federal Government of Nigeria in support of the operationalization of Nigerian Army Aviation has approved the acquisition of the initial 12 MD 530F Cayuse Attack Helicopters that will actualize the operationalization of the Nigerian Army (NA) Aviation to effectively tackle security challenges bedeviling the country. 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 Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja made this disclosure 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.
In his remarks at the 3 Day Seminar with the theme: “Enhancing the Capacity of the Nigerian Army Aviation towards Achieving Constitutional Responsibilities in a Joint Environment”, the COAS 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 organising 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 further revealed that since 2014, the Nigerian Army has made commendable progress in training pilots, aircraft engineers, technicians, and other ground support crews, adding that the Nigerian Army understands the highly technical nature of the aviation business and the need to be appropriately mentored, hence 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 .
Highlighting the critical role of NA aviation, the Army Chief stated 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, maintaining 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.
The COAS pointed out, that ideas gleaned from the seminar 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 stated that the NA recognizes the pivotal role of aviation in bolstering ground operations and addressing the evolving security challenges confronting the nation.
He noted that the re-establishment of the NA aviation in 2014, was a decisive step towards enhancing NA operations reach and effectiveness in countering threats to national security. He averred that the seminar marks a significant milestone in the continuous efforts to operationalize the NA aviation, adding that collective knowledge and expertise at the seminar will generate constructive dialogue that will guide the NA towards actualization of a more robust and capable NA aviation.
Highpoint of the opening ceremony was presentation of goodwill messages from the former Deputy Governor of Kebi state and a member of the first generation of NA aviation pilots, Colonel Ismaila Yombe (rtd), the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff General Lucky Irabor (rtd) and Representative of the Chairman House Committee on Aviation, Honourable Festus Akingbaso.
The Seminar attracted resource persons and participants from the services, the Nigeria Police and other security agencies , Chairman House Committee on Defence, Honourable Babajimi, Benson, former Commandant Nigerian Defence Academy, Major General Emeka Onwuamaegbu (rtd), former Coordinator NA Aviation, Major General Johnson Olawunmi, Principal Staff Officers from Defence and Services Headquarters, Formation Commanders and Heads of NA Establishments.