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Helicopter gunships to boost operations – NAF

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says the two helicopter gunships being expected before the end of the year will change the course of its ongoing operations in the North East and other parts of the country.

Businessday recalls that the Chief of Air Staff, CAS, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, disclosed this at a recent quarterly conference with branch chiefs, Air Officers Commanding and directors of the service.

Buttressing this in an interview with our correspondent, the NAF’S spokesperson, Ibikunle Daramola, said the attack helicopters would definitely add “impetus” to operations.

“Not just the fight against insurgency but also against other forms of criminality like armed banditry and the others. The attack helicopters that are coming in, will add significant impetus. One in terms of deployment, conducting arms reconnaissance missions, live attack missions.

Read also; NAF helicopter crash-lands in Katsina

“They will add considerable value to what the Nigerian air force is already doing. As you already know we have conducted a lot of operations against insurgency and other adversaries in the north east so, this will also add to the abilities to strike in those locations while providing support to other forces in the operations.”

Daramola said there was an “excellent” synergy between the force and other sister agencies.

His words: “For internal security operations, there is no way we can operate effectively without working with the ground forces like the Army and the Navy, which is operation “delta safe” in the South- South and even operation “Awatse” in the Lagos area.

Operation “thunder strike” along Abuja -Kaduna expressway is a multi-agency operation with the police, civil defence, everybody working to ensure there is security for Nigeria and Nigerians so there is unquestionably high level of synergy between the air force and other security agencies to ensure that all the successes recorded, whether it is the police declaring the success, the air force or the army, that there are always degrees of involvement of other security agencies in successes recorded.”

Speaking on proposed acquisition from Pakistan, Daramola said: “The JF – 17 is a multi-role attack aircraft. It’s a fighter jet. There are three of them coming from Pakistan. It is different from the two attack aircrafts coming from Italy. As for the two aircrafts from Italy, the process is still ongoing and timelines will be known later.

“The Pakistani chief of air staff came here (Nigeria Air force headquarters) and assured that he is doing everything within his powers to ensure that we get them at the earliest time possible and the Federal Government is giving immense support to ensure that it becomes a reality.”

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