By Kingsley Omonobi, Abuja
The federal government has, in support of Nigerian Army Aviation, approved the acquisition of initial 12 MD 530 F Cayuse attack helicopters to actualize operationalization of Nigerian Army aviation to effectively tackle the security challenges bedevilling the country.
The acquisition of the new attack helicopters is part of ongoing efforts by the government to boost the operational capabilities of Army Aviation to appropriately respond to contemporary and emerging security threats.
Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, disclosed this while declaring open the Nigerian Army Aviation maiden seminar on Aviation Security Awareness at the Army Headquarters Command Officers’ Mess, Abuja, yesterday.
In his remarks at the seminar with the theme, “Enhancing the Capacity of the Nigerian Army Aviation towards Achieving Constitutional Responsibilities in a Joint Environment,” the COAS expressed gratitude to the government of President Bola Tinubu for buying into the aspiration of the Nigerian Army Aviation and committing itself to making history.
Lagbaja noted that Nigerian Army Aviation was being proactive by organising the first Nigerian Army Aviation seminar, which is in line with his command philosophy of “Transforming the Nigerian Army into a Well-trained, Equipped and Highly Motivated Force towards achieving its Constitutional Responsibilities within a Joint Environment.”
He said the seminar would serve as a veritable platform to deliberate on critical issues and share invaluable insights regarding the future of Nigerian Army Aviation.
General Lagbaja further revealed that since 2014, the Army had made commendable progress in training pilots, aircraft engineers, technicians, and other ground support crews, adding that it understood the highly technical nature of the aviation business and the need to be appropriately mentored
He said that was the reason for 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 could learn from other experienced aviation outfits .
Emphasizing the critical role of NA aviation, the Army chief stated that the outfit was set up to improve the agility, responsiveness, and efficacy of the ground troops while contributing to the overall operational success of joint and coalition forces.
‘’It will also support those on the ground and focus on tactical and operational engagements. The Air Force undertakes more complex tasks to achieve strategic effects.
‘’Experiences of some member nations of the international community are instructive and depict effectiveness in countering contemporary security threats through vital support to ground forces.
‘’Ideas gleaned from the seminar will help strengthen NA aviation capabilities through capacity building, infrastructure development and guide further acquisition of cutting-edge platforms for the growth and development of a viable Nigerian Army Aviation,’’ Lt. General Lagbaja said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Acting Coordinator, Nigerian Army Aviation, Brigadier General Musa Alkali, said the Army recognized 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 its operational reach and effectiveness in countering threats to national security.
‘’The seminar marks a significant milestone in the continuous efforts to operationalize the NA aviation. Collective knowledge and expertise at the seminar will generate constructive dialogue that will guide the Army towards actualization of a more robust and capable NA aviation,’’ he said.