Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has approved the purchase of 12 fighter helicopters for the Nigerian Army.
This was disclosed by Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, at the opening of the Nigerian Army Aviation Seminar, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Lagbaja noted that the helicopters, which are MD 530F Cayuse attack helicopters would enable the Nigeria Army’s aviation unit to improve ground troops’ efficacy during operations.
Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja noted the purchase would also contribute to the overall operational success of joint and coalition troops, citing that the army aviation was generally separate from a nation’s dedicated air force, but usually equipped with helicopters and light support fixed-wing aircraft.
The COAS praised the president’s commitment towards fighting insecurity noting it also enables the aspiration of the Nigerian army to have an equipped aviation unit, which would support ground troops as they focus on tactical and operational engagements, in line with the experiences of nations like the United States, Pakistan, Colombia, Egypt, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda are instructive in this area.
- “The army aviation arms of these countries have shown effectiveness in countering contemporary security threats and providing vital support to ground forces.
- “In view of the need to realize this, and in its bid to appropriately respond to contemporary and emerging security threats, the Nigerian Army resuscitated its aviation aspiration in 2014.
- “I am happy to inform this gathering that the Nigerian army is willing to learn from the army aviation journeys of the countries mentioned earlier.
- “Our willingness to learn from them is to adapt their best practices to suit our unique operational environment and avoid their mistakes.
- “I can proudly report that since 2014, the Nigerian Army has made commendable progress in training pilots, aircraft engineers, technicians, and other ground support crew,” he said.
He also added that the Nigerian army has reviewed the aviation outfit to the Nigerian Air Force for proper mentoring, adding that they plan to discuss likely challenges the unit may face and proffer innovative solutions.
- “Therefore, this seminar is a platform for us to deliberate on critical issues and share invaluable insights regarding the future of Nigerian army aviation, even before that future comes upon us.
- “Ideas generated from our deliberations are expected to help strengthen the capabilities through capacity building, infrastructure development and guide further acquisition of cutting-edge platforms and technologies,”.
The Acting Coordinator, Nigerian Army Aviation, Brig.-Gen. Musa Alkali said the helicopter unit would have an active role in bolstering ground operations and addressing the current security challenges confronting the nation.