President Bola Tinubu, on Tuesday, reiterated his administration’s commitment to ending the insecurity plaguing the country.
The President stated this when he inducted two T129 Attack Combat Helicopters and one King Air Beechcraft 360ER mobility aircraft for use by the Nigerian Air Force.
Represented by his Vice President Kashim Shettima, the President said the acquisition of the helicopters and the induction symbolised the commitment of his administration to the nation’s security.
The induction ceremony held at the 131 Engineering Group Hanger, Nigeria Air Force Base, Makurdi.
The President said that the acquisition and induction of the new platforms would improve NAF’s airpower in the ongoing war against terrorism.
He acknowledged that since its establishment in 1964, “NAF has been playing a critical role in the nation’s security, international operations and humanitarian needs.”
“Let me commend the Chief of Air Staff, officers and men for their commitment to enhancing national security. I assure you that the Tinubu administration will continue to support NAF and indeed, the Armed Forces of Nigeria towards combating terrorism, oil theft and other criminal activities.”
The President said substantial progress had been achieved in the ongoing counterterrorism efforts but noted that there should be no cause for celebration yet until the security challenges were fully addressed.
He called for a change in mindset, strategy and tactics in addressing the menace.
Earlier in his speech, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, said that NAF had taken delivery of no fewer than seven aircraft.
He listed the new aircraft to include two Diamond 62 surveillance aircraft, two T-129 ATAK helicopters, and a King Air 360 ER.
He added that the NAF would induct 46 new aircraft of various types over the next 18 months.
He said the air force has 170 pilots and 533 technicians and they were undergoing training locally and internationally.
The Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru, expressed gratitude to the President for his foresight and dogged support for the armed forces.
He said the induction of the newly-acquired aircraft was a testimony to Tinubu’s resolve to tackle insecurity in the country while urging the air force to make the best use of the newly acquired aircraft.
Experts at the event said that the T129 ATAK is a twin-engine, tandem-seat, multi-role, all-weather attack helicopter based on the Agusta A129 Mangusta platform, developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries in partnership with Leonardo SPA.
The helicopter, it is understood, is designed for armed reconnaissance and attack missions in hot and high environments and rough geography in both day and night conditions.
Highlights of the event were the signing of the handing over documents and aerial display by the T129 Attack Combat Helicopter.