The Nigerian Air Force has winged four newly trained pilots, comprising two fighter pilots and two combat helicopter pilots who recently completed their training in the United States of America.
According to the spokesman of the Air Force, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, the winging took place during a three-day retreat organized in Abuja for operational unit commanders of the force to evolve new strategies to address the ever-changing security environment.
Themed ‘Harnessing NAF Airpower Capabilities for Effectiveness in Joint Operations,’ the three-day retreat, which held between 27th and 29th April, 2021, provided operational unit commanders and some retired personnel acting as resource persons the opportunity to critically scrutinize current efforts by NAF as well as proffer new strategies towards tackling the current security challenges in the country.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, said the winging of the pilots marked a glowing testament of NAF’s commitment towards enhancing and sustaining critical airpower capabilities required for joint force employment in pursuit of national security imperatives.
He noted that the Service cannot effectively and efficiently employ airpower without sufficient number of well-trained aviators and support personnel.
Air Marshal Amoo also disclosed that a total of 233 officers and airmen/airwomen were undergoing training courses overseas in several specialties and trades.
“Out of this number, about 35 are student pilots undergoing various stages of training in Czech Republic, United States, United Kingdom and South Africa. 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,” he said.
He congratulated the young pilots and urged them to be relentless in the pursuit of excellence and professionalism as operational pilots. He also advised the pilots to remain committed to the successful execution of the constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
In his remark, the Chief of Training and Operations (CTOP), Air Vice Marshal James Gwani, disclosed that two of the winged pilots had completed the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) at the United States Air Force training facilities in Mississippi and Texas, while the other two went through the Basic Military Helicopter as well as Mission and Tactics Training at the United States Army Aviation Flight School, Fort Rucker and Western Army Aviation Training Site, Arizona, United States.
He expressed optimism that the inclusion of the four pilots into NAF’s pilots’ corps would boost the strength of the service.
Key areas deliberated on during the retreat were operational, logistic as well as engineering efforts by relevant units towards enhancing operational effectiveness of the NAF.
The air force chief emphasized the need for the NAF to look for areas of synergy with sister services and other security agencies, and leverage each other’s capabilities to secure the nation.