• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Nigerian Army unveils new aircraft to boost operational effectiveness

Nigerian Army unveils new aircraft to boost operational effectiveness

The Nigerian Army (NA) has taken a significant step forward in enhancing its operational capabilities with the launch of its first batch of new aircraft, the BELL UH 1-H.

The acquisition marked major efforts in the development of the Nigerian Army Aviation’s capacity to provide air support to ground operations.

The handover of the two BELL UH 1-H aircraft took place at a ceremony held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The event highlighted the NA’s partnership with reputable stakeholders in the Defence and Security Industry for the procurement of essential equipment and platforms.

Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) who received the aircraft, emphasized that this procurement is part of ongoing efforts by the Federal Government to bolster the Defence capabilities and improve the operational effectiveness of Nigeria’s armed forces.

Lagbaja pledged to modernize the NA’s aviation portfolio, integrate advanced training, and implement unmanned operations across the fleet.

In addition to the new aircraft, the Nigerian Army is setting up its aviation branch with plans to acquire modernized manned helicopters and autonomous platforms from groups such as Textron Aerosonde UAS and Ziyan UAS Blowfish.

These developments aimed to provide pilots with greater standoff capabilities from enemy threats.

The unveiling ceremony in Abuja on Thursday was attended by high-ranking officials.

MS Alkali, the Coordinator of Nigerian Army Aviation, in his opening remarks, expressed immense pride and gratitude, stating, “We are gathered here to celebrate the arrival of the Nigerian Army Vanguard air platforms, a significant milestone in the NA’s ongoing efforts to enhance the operational capabilities of the Nigerian Army Aviation.”

Alkali highlighted the rigorous planning and unwavering support from NA leadership and international partners that made this achievement possible.

He emphasized that these platforms will significantly bolster the NA’s overall operational effectiveness, recognizing the professionalism and dedication of the skilled personnel who will operate and maintain these machines.

In his address, Lagbaja celebrated the realization of a long-held dream for Nigerian Army Aviation.

He traced the journey back to 2014 when former COAS KTJ Minimah (rtd) initiated the establishment of the NA Aviation Coordination Office with a 10-year implementation plan.

Lagbaja praised the efforts of his predecessors, including TY Buratai, Attahiru, and Farouk Yahaya, whose tenacity and collective efforts have been instrumental.

Acknowledging the challenges faced along the way, Lagbaja expressed gratitude to the various administrations, particularly former Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Mohammadu Buhari, for their support.

He extended thanks to President Bola Tinubu for fulfilling his promise to fund the acquisition of the platforms, thus realizing the Army’s aviation dream.

Recognizing the Army’s position as a newcomer in the aviation field, Lagbaja thanked the Nigerian Air Force, the Nigerian Navy, and the Nigerian Police Force for their support and encouragement.

He emphasized the Army’s commitment to learning and enhancing their operational successes through this new venture.

Lagbaja also expressed gratitude to the National Assembly and the Ministers of Defence for their support.

“The Nigerian Army is poised to serve the nation better, and we shall overcome and provide our people with an enabling environment for economic prosperity”, he assured.