Boko Haram: Before U.S. Jets, Air Force Gets Two Combat Helicopters
The power of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to fight Boko Haram and tackle other security challenges has been boosted.
Two Mi 35m combat helicopters were delivered to Nigeria by Russia in April and on Saturday, May 5, President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated them.
The inauguration ceremony was held at the NAF base in Kaduna State and the President was represented by the Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen Muhammad Dan-Ali (Rtd).
It was a day set aside to mark the 54th Anniversary of the Air Force, with the theme; “Enhancing Nigerian Air Force Operational Capacity for Timely Employment of Air Power in Response to Contemporary Security Challenges".
Buhari highlighted again the reason the NAF was established in April 1964.
It was to achieve full complement of the country’s military defence system.
As a young Army officer, I took part from the beginning to the end in our tragic civil war and I know the role the young NAF played in the prosecution of the civil war.
“NAF has undergone several developmental stages and the government over the years acquired various weapons system to enable the NAF to effectively perform it’s roles,” he stated.
The two helicopters becomes the latest addition to the platforms a NAF inventory by the current administration after it added the “Super Mushsak, the Diamond and various helicopters.
"We have also approved the purchase of Super Tucano aircraft," the President stated.
He added: “With the acquisition of these new weapons platforms, there arose the need to train personnel to man and maintain the new aircraft types".
President Buhari also commended the "gallant men and women of the Nigerian armed forces and other security agencies for their tireless efforts in defeating Boko Haram and other threats to our nation".