President Bola Tinubu has approved procurement of 12 MD 530F Cayuse Attack Helicopters that will actualize the operationalization of the Nigerian Army Aviation to effectively tackle security challenges bedeviling the country.
The acquisition of the new attack helicopters is in a bid to boost the operational capabilities of the Army Aviation to appropriately respond to contemporary and emerging security threats.
Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), made this disclosure on Tuesday at the Nigerian Army Aviation maiden seminar on Aviation Security Awareness at the Army Headquarters Command Officers’ Mess 1, Abuja.
In his remarks at the 3 Day Seminar with the theme: “Enhancing the Capacity of the Nigerian Army Aviation towards Achieving Constitutional Responsibilities in a Joint Environment”, the COAS explained that the army aviation was generally separate from a nation’s dedicated air force, but usually equipped with helicopters and light support fixed-wing aircraft.
He expressed gratitude to Tinubu for buying into the aspiration of the Nigerian Army Aviation and committing itself to making history.
General Lagbaja further revealed that since 2014, the Nigerian Army has made commendable progress in training pilots, aircraft engineers, technicians, and other ground support crews, adding that the Nigerian Army understands the highly technical nature of the aviation business and the need to be appropriately mentored, hence its international collaborations and submission of its nascent aviation outfit to the mentoring of the Nigerian Air Force, as the Service does not have the luxury of making mistakes when it can learn from other experienced aviation outfits .
He noted that the experiences of nations like the United States, Pakistan, Colombia, Egypt, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda are instructive instructive and depict effectiveness in countering contemporary security threats through vital support to ground forces.
“The army aviation arms of these countries have shown effectiveness in countering contemporary security threats and providing vital support to ground forces”, he said.
In his address, Brigadier General Musa Alkali Acting Coordinator, Nigerian Army Aviation, stated that the Army recognizes the pivotal role of aviation in bolstering ground operations and addressing the evolving security challenges confronting the nation.
He noted that the re-establishment of the NA aviation in 2014, was a decisive step towards enhancing NA operations reach and effectiveness in countering threats to national security. He averred that the seminar marks a significant milestone in the continuous efforts to operationalize the NA aviation, adding that collective knowledge and expertise at the seminar will generate constructive dialogue that will guide the NA towards actualization of a more robust and capable NA aviation.
Highpoint of the opening ceremony was presentation of goodwill messages from the former Deputy Governor of Kebi state and a member of the first generation of NA aviation pilots, Colonel Ismaila Yombe (rtd), the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff General Lucky Irabor (rtd) and Representative of the Chairman House Committee on Aviation, Honourable Festus Akingbaso.