By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—THE Nigerian Air Force said yesterday it has successfully produced 72 pilots between July 2015 and now.
The Air Force also said it has so far trained 23 instructor pilots in the last two years, while seven others were currently undergoing training abroad with three in United States and four in Jordan respectively.
The disclosure came as the service broke its long time jinx by winging two female pilots who earlier graduated from the military prestigious Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, Kaduna.
Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who disclosed this at the winging ceremony of pilots trained in Westline Aviation, South Africa, held at the Nigerian Air Force Headquarters, Abuja,specifically said that by the end of February this year,his administration which started in July 2015, following his appointment as Chief of Air Staff, would have successfully twinged a total of 72 pilots in the service.
“We are expecting additional ten pilots from International Aviation College in Ilorin and four pilots from South Africa to complete their training in February 2018.
“By end of February therefore, the NAF would have successfully winged 72 pilots,“ he said.
The Air Force chief further disclosed that additional 74 pilots were undergoing training to qualify for awards of NAF wings.
Out of this number,he said 64 were training in Nigeria while the remaining ten were training outside Nigeria.
“In the area of Instructor Pilot Training, the NAF has trained 23 instructor pilots in the last two years while seven are currently undergoing training abroad with three in US and four in Jordan,“ he further disclosed.
Abubakar, who noted that Section 217 Sub Section 2b of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended, assigned the role of protecting Nigeria’s Sovereignty and integrity by Air on the Nigerian Air Force, however said the tasked cannot adequately be achieved without well trained pilots, a development he said, informed his decision to take adequate training of pilots as topmost priority.
“Section 217 Sub Section 2b of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended, assigned the role of protecting Nigeria’s sovereignty and integrity by air on the Nigerian Air Force.
“To discharge this responsibility, Nigerian Air Force relies on air assets fighter aircraft, helicopter gunships and other platforms to discharge this responsibility.
“Air assets alone however without adequa