The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has reactivated and inaugurated another Alpha Jet aircraft after Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM).
The NAF said this is in furtherance of its sustained efforts to boost Air Power employment capability against insurgency and other security challenges in the Country.
Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, made this known in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.
He said this at the inauguration of the additional Alpha Jet, NAF 455, on Saturday, at the 407 Air Combat Training Group (407 ACTG), Kainji.
Speaking during the ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the PDM.
He said that the reactivation would go a long way in boosting the morale of troops on the frontlines and better equip the NAF in its drive to sustain the offensive initiative against the terrorists and insurgents.
According to him, the in-house PDM, apart from being cost-effective when compared to the overseas option, also affords NAF technicians the opportunity to build better technical capacity.
“It is worth mentioning that our NAF technicians were the major manpower for this PDM.
“The avionics upgrade, which is the first of its kind on the Alpha Jet, has also significantly improved the aircraft navigation and communications systems thus increasing safety, reliability and overall efficiency,” he said.
The CAS noted that the challenge posed by lack of avionics spares, which accounted for over 60 per cent of the Alpha Jet critical spares, had also been addressed with the upgrade.
He said the upgraded instruments and accessories, were readily available in the market, thus ensuring availability of maintenance support spares which would translate to improved aircraft availability.
The air chief added that under his watch the NAF, for the first time in its history, had successfully conducted in-country PDM on two C-130H aircraft (NAFs 917 and 913) in Lagos, while Life Extension Programme (LEP) was also successfully conducted on three L-39ZA aircraft in Kano.
He also said that an Mi-35P was also undergoing in-Country reactivation in Portharcourt, which would further boost aircraft availability for enhanced mission accomplishment.
Abubakar disclosed that the completion and subsequent inauguration of 2.8 km road infrastructure, was executed through direct labour by the NAF Directorate of Services, was one among many other welfare projects earmarked for Kainji.
He said that during his last tour round the Base, he observed the deplorable state of the road network and believed the Unit deserved better considering its importance to the NAF’s Air Power projection capability.
Abubakar said that the completed road network as well as other ongoing projects would enable personnel of the Unit discharge their respective duties conveniently, thus translating to enhanced operational performance.
The CAS further noted that the Base was also being positioned to efficiently support the A-29 Super Turcano aircraft when it arrive.
“I can assure you that this robust infrastructural development would continue to take place in NAF Base Kainji”, he said.
Abubakar expressed his profound appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari, for his gracious support to the NAF.
Earlier, the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command (AOC ATC), AVM Musa Mukhtar, said the inauguration of the reactivated aircraft and the welfare projects were demonstrations of a leadership whose top priority is to enhance NAF operations.
Muktar was represented by the Chief of Staff ATC, Air Commodore Abraham Adole.
After the unveiling of NAF 455 and inspection of the upgraded avionics in the cockpit, a Functional Check Flight (FCF) was conducted to further certify the aircraft fit for combat operations.