The Nigerian Air Force said it would be deploying its transport plane to various theatres of operations within the North East and North West to beef of military supplies and other logistics that would assist the military win the battle.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar disclosed this while inaugurating a military transport plane, NAF 917, which underwent Period Depot Maintenance (PDM) or D-check, at the Nigerian Air Force hangar in Lagos.
Air Marshal Abubakar said that without the C-130, the operations of the military within the North East will not be successful, especially as it helps transport logistics necessary for the successful conclusion of the war.
Accepting the aircraft from the technical company that conducted the in-country PDM, Messrs SABENA TECHNICS, Air Marshal Abubakar said that the acceptance marks a return to service of NAF 917, used by the force to successfully conduct routine and combat sustainment operations towards the success of the NAF in the various ongoing internal security operations in Nigeria.
He said: “Today’s acceptance will have a positive impact on NAF efforts towards providing routine and combat sustainment for NAF operations and indeed other operations conducted by our Armed Forces.
“It also gladdens my heart that the PDM of the aircraft was carried out in-country by NAF engineers and technicians in collaboration with our technical partners, Messrs SABENA TECHNICS.
“We are really proud that this milestone of complete PDM in-country has been achieved not just because we have made some huge foreign exchange savings, but especially due to the fact that this marks the beginning of a new dawn in our strategic plan to develop a robust capacity for in-country maintenance and sustenance of Nigerian Air Force platforms and equipment.
“The successful execution of this PDM also reinforces our belief that with the right attitude, dedication and encouragement, we can surely make huge progress and achieve success in our human capacity development drive in support of national security imperatives. “
He said that the C-130H fleet had been one of the key fulcrums, providing sustainment to troops involved in ongoing internal security operations through airlift and movement of troops, equipment, armament and other materials, adding that the aircraft has also been critical to NAF response to emergencies or in fulfilling Nigeria’s responsibilities to international peace keeping operations and ensuring stability, not just in the West African sub-region but also across the continent.
Explaining the reasons for the in-country PDM, the Chief of Air Staff said the decision to carry out the PDM of NAF 917 in-country was to ensure the transfer of technical know-how and experience from the technical partners to NAF engineers and technicians.
“This is in line with our plan to build in house capacity to ensure that we domicile the skills and expertise required to carry out maintenance activities in order to better support and sustain NAF air operations especially in the face of competing needs for national resources.
“This is also the main thrust of all our other aircraft maintenance, reactivation and Life Extension Programmes as well as PDM efforts being carried out in partnership with other technical partners on the Alpha Jet, L-39ZA, Mi-35P, EC-135 helicopter and C-130H (NAF 913) currently docked for PDM in this hangar.
“These efforts are also in tandem with our Research and Development (R&D) drive which has started yielding results in many areas such as local fabrication of tools and spares, some of which were utilised in the conduct of the recently conducted PDM.
“These efforts are also in line with my vision, ‘to reposition the NAF into a highly-professional and disciplined force through capacity-building initiatives for effective, efficient and timely employment of air power in response to Nigeria’s national defence imperatives.’”
Strategically, Air Marshal Abubakar said the aim of the Air Force is to build capacity such that in the near future, the force is able to carry out all levels of checks and maintenance activities up to PDM on all NAF platforms.