July 24, 2024

Nigeria Air Force to receive 18 attack helicopters from US, Turkey

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) will shortly receive 18 assault helicopters, according to the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Hassan Abubakar.


Mr Abubakar made the remarks during a one-day tour of NAF 115 Special Operations Group (SOG) formations and units in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.


He stated that the US would deliver 12 attack helicopters, with the Turkish government providing an additional six helicopters in September.


“We are not deterred by recent developments as the federal government has approved the acquisition of 12 AH1 Zulu Cobra and six T129 Helicopters from the United States and Turkey, respectively.


“The first two T129 helicopters are scheduled to come into operation by September to enhance our operational capabilities.


“So, yes, we are saddened by the recent loss of our airplane (MI 171 helicopter), but then, we have a lot more (aircraft) coming in, and our capabilities are increasing,” he said.


Mr. Abubakar stated that he visited the state to express his condolences to the families of the NAF pilots and crew who died in the unfortunate helicopter crash in Niger on August 14.


“So, we came here to express our deepest condolences to the immediate family members of the crew that we lost.


“The 115 special operations group is the home base for the airplane and all the crew that were onboard the unfortunate crash of our MI-171 helicopter.


“Aside this, we are also here to interact with the officers and men of the unit to encourage and assure them of our support in Operation Delta Safe,” he added.


The late crew onboard the wrecked aircraft included the pilot, co-pilot, and two airmen – who oversaw the cabin, according to the Air Force head.


He stated that the Air Force is actively putting measures in place to end military aircraft crashes in the country.


“NAF has a target innovation of zero accidents, but the truth is that as long as we keep operating, there will be incidents because it is human beings that operate the aircraft.


“We have also established and empowered our NAF Institute of Safety – where we train our pilots and technicians in the fundamentals of safety to improve safety culture in the Air Force.


“The overall aim is that in the nearest future, we will have a well-engraved safety culture in the realisation of our target of zero accidents and incidents in NAF,” he said.


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