The Federal Government of Nigeria has taken a significant step towards bolstering the operational capabilities of the Nigerian Army Aviation with the approval for the acquisition of an initial fleet of 12 MD 530F Cayuse Attack Helicopters.
This strategic decision, which marks a milestone in the full operationalization of the Nigerian Army (NA) Aviation, is aimed at addressing the pressing security challenges faced by the nation, according to Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, the Director of Army Public Relations.
The groundbreaking announcement was made by Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS), during the inauguration of the Nigerian Army Aviation’s inaugural seminar on Aviation Security Awareness, held at the Army Headquarters Command Officers’ Mess 1 in Abuja.
The three-day seminar, themed “Enhancing the Capacity of the Nigerian Army Aviation towards Achieving Constitutional Responsibilities in a Joint Environment,” demonstrates the Nigerian Army’s commitment to prepare for contemporary and emerging security threats.
General Lagbaja expressed his gratitude to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration for embracing the vision of the Nigerian Army Aviation and for its unwavering commitment to its realization.
Highlighting the proactive stance of the Nigerian Army Aviation, General Lagbaja emphasized the importance of the seminar in aligning with his Command Philosophy, aimed at transforming the Nigerian Army into a highly trained, well-equipped, and motivated force capable of fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities within a joint operational environment.
The seminar serves as a platform for deliberating on critical issues and sharing invaluable insights regarding the future of the Nigerian Army Aviation.
General Lagbaja also praised the progress made in training pilots, aircraft engineers, technicians, and ground support crews since 2014.
He stressed the importance of international collaborations and mentorship from the Nigerian Air Force to ensure the success of the nascent aviation unit, cautioning against costly mistakes by learning from experienced aviation outfits.
General Lagbaja highlighted the critical role of the Nigerian Army Aviation in enhancing the agility, responsiveness, and effectiveness of ground troops.
He noted that this aviation unit contributes significantly to the overall operational success of joint and coalition forces by providing crucial support to ground operations and focusing on tactical and operational engagements.
The Chief of Army Staff underlined that while the Nigerian Air Force handles more complex tasks to achieve strategic objectives, the Nigerian Army Aviation draws lessons from successful international examples of supporting ground forces in countering contemporary security threats.
In his concluding remarks, General Lagbaja stated that ideas generated from the seminar would play a pivotal role in strengthening the Nigerian Army Aviation’s capabilities.
This would be achieved through capacity building, infrastructure development, and the acquisition of cutting-edge aviation platforms, ensuring the growth and development of a robust Nigerian Army Aviation.
Brigadier General Musa Alkali, the Acting Coordinator of Nigerian Army Aviation, reiterated the significance of aviation in enhancing ground operations and addressing evolving security challenges.
He highlighted the re-establishment of the Nigerian Army Aviation in 2014 as a decisive step toward improving operational reach and effectiveness in countering threats to national security.
The seminar, he emphasized, marks a significant milestone in operationalizing the Nigerian Army Aviation, fostering constructive dialogue to guide its development.
The opening ceremony of the seminar featured goodwill messages from key figures such as Colonel Ismaila Yombe (retd), a member of the first generation of NA aviation pilots, General Lucky Irabor (retd), the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, and Honourable Festus Akingbaso, representing the Chairman House Committee on Aviation.
The seminar attracted resource persons and participants from various branches of the military, the Nigeria Police, and other security agencies.
It also garnered attendance from Honourable Babajimi Benson, Chairman of the House Committee on Defence, Major General Emeka Onwuamaegbu (retd), former Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy, Major General Johnson Olawunmi, and Principal Staff Officers from Defence and Services Headquarters, Formation Commanders, and Heads of NA Establishments.