Abuja – The Nigeria Air Force (NAF) says it has graduated its first set of in-house trained pilots for its Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), as part of its human capacity development initiatives.
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, AVM Olatokunbo Adesanya,said this in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja.
Adesanya said that the five trained RPA pilots were decorated with their ‘wings’ by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base in Maiduguri.
“The training of the new Pilots commenced in 2016 at the 401 Flying Training School, Kaduna, following which they later converted on the CH-3A RPA.
“ The CH-3A RPA conversion training, which started in May 2017, covered areas such as Ground Academics, General Airmanship, Instruments, Situational Awareness, Radiotelephony, Boldface exercises as well as handling of simulated and real emergencies.’’
The NAF Spokesman said that the entire programme lasted for about 2 years, while the CH-3A RPA specifics phase lasted for 10 months, culminating in check rides for each of the 5 new RPA pilots.
According to him, the new pilots currently have nearly a hundred hours each on the CH-3A RPA.
He said that the CH-3A RPA, which formed part of the training platforms, was deployed in the North-East, where the Air Task Force of Operation LAFIYA DOLE was using it against Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs).
Adesanya said the NAF had developed commendable experience in its RPA operations.
He said that with the recent feat of being able to train the pilots of the RPA in-house, NAF was now poised to train additional batches of Student Pilots for its RPAs.
“This would ensure the availability of the required manpower at minimal cost, to man the NAF’s RPAs, which are expected to increase in the coming years,’’ he said.
The spokesman said that NAF had recently inducted the first indigenous operational Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), named Tsaigumi, to enhance its Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capabilities.
He said that plans were already underway to mass produce the Tsaigumi UAV as well as develop the nation’s first indigenous Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle. (NAN)