From Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano
… takes delivery of two re-activated L-39ZA fighter aircraft
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar, on Friday in Kano, assured Nigerians that the military are readily committed to win the war against insurgency, with deployment of more aircraft and weapons provided by the Federal Government.
He stated this during the Acceptance Flight/Handover of two re-activated L-39ZA Aircraft at 403 Flying Training School, Kano.
According to him, the third L-39ZA aircraft being re-activated in Kano will be handed over before the end of December.
Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar in his remarks stated that, “it gives me great pleasure to be back here in 403 Flying Training School Kano for the acceptance flight and handing over ceremony of the newly reactivated L-39ZA aircraft.
“The in-country Life Extension Program (LEP) on the L-39ZA fleet has just been conducted by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Messrs Aero Vodochody of Czech Republic with the support of Nigerian Air Force technicians. You may recall I was here about two weeks ago to assess the progress of the work and today we are witnessing the acceptance flight and handing over of 2 out of the three aircraft.
“The work on the third aircraft is also making significant progress and I have been assured that it would be handed over sometime next week.”
He further hinted that there are also three other L-39ZA aircraft currently undergoing general overhaul and avionics upgrade at the Aero Vodochody facility in Prague Czech Republic, and they are expected to be back in the Country before the third quarter of 2021.
He said the completion of the in-country Life Extension Program is indeed a remarkable achievement for the Nigerian Air Force as it would further boost the number of available aircraft for the Nigerian Air Force to continue to carry out its constitutional roles as well as achieve the essence of its establishment in 1964 by the Act of Parliament which specifically tasked the Service to defend Nigeria by air.
Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar noted that, ‘it is worthy to mention here that some works as well as plans to improve and sustain aircraft serviceability status in the Nigerian Air Force include in-country Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) and avionics upgrade on 2 x A-Jets at 407 Air Combat Training Group Kainji which is almost completed.
“Also, 2 x F7-Ni aircraft are currently undergoing life extension, whereas 7 of same aircraft are to be ferried to China for overhaul and avionics upgrade.
“Additionally, the Service just took delivery of an additional Mi-171E helicopter within the week, and the weaponization of another Mi-171E is near completion.”
He explained that “these are some of the modest achievements and plans of the Service in our quest to keep a formidable fleet of aircraft to meet the nation’s air power needs. At this point, it is very important to state that these achievements would not have been possible without the immense support of Mr President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We unreservedly tender our sincere appreciation to Mr President for this move and reaffirm our absolute loyalty to Mr President especially in his quest for peace and security in our dear nation.”
He also emphasised that, “the 403 Flying Training School is one of our credible flying training institutions tasked primarily with the role of conducting Basic Pilot Training and Instructor Pilot Training on the fast jet aircraft.
“The role of the school was further expanded to support the counter insurgency operations in the Northeast and the anti-banditry operations in the Northwest. I must say that the school has lived up to the expectations of the Nigerian Air Force as it has continued to produce top-notch pilots for the Nigerian Air Force and equally provided the needed air support for the various ongoing internal security operations.
“This year alone, the school graduated four combat pilots even as 6 other Student Pilots (SPs) have attained over 90% completion of their training program. The additional aircraft we are receiving today would enable the School to continue to operate optimally.
“Therefore, I congratulate the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command and the Commander of the 403 Flying Training School Kano for these remarkable achievements.”
He further stated that, “as most of you are aware, the Nigerian Air Force would soon be taking into her inventory 12 x Super Tucano and 3 x JF-17 aircraft. Therefore, I implore you the offrs and men of 403 Flying Training School to keep doing your jobs with the utmost dedication and professionalism you have always displayed.
“Now, more than ever before, the Service needs the school to keep training fast jet pilots for the Nigerian Air Force to meet the manning requirement for the expected additional platforms.
“Much as we have sacrificed, let us be propelled by the support and goodwill of all Nigerians to the Nigerian Air Force, to do more for our nation. Our loyalty and service to the nation must always be our motivation.”
He expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Defense and members of the National Assembly, “for their unrelenting support to see that the Nigerian Air Force is adequately equipped to contend with the contemporary security challenges despite the economic downturn.
“I must also commend the efforts of our technical partners from Aero Vodochody for the timely delivery of the aircraft.
“I learned you had to work for extra hours to get the job completed within the timeframe. I must also commend our engineers and technicians for a job well done.
“Finally, I thank everyone of you that was able to make it here today to witness this event, and I urge you all to continue to pray and support our men and women who find themselves in the line of fire while trying to maintain security of our dear nation. Thank you all and God bless.”