The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, today disclosed plans by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to establish a Forward Operational Base (FOB) in Taraba State, as part of plans to further tackle the incessant herdsmen-farmers clash in the country.
The CAS, who disclosed the plans while delivering a lecture to participants of National Defence College (NDC) Course 26 in Abuja, also announced plans to establish a Quick Response Wing along the Benue-Nassarawa Axis.
The title of the lecture, which lasted one hour, was ‘The Nigerian Air Force – Challenges and Future Perspectives’. Participants of the Course are drawn from senior officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and those of sister African countries, senior officials of other security agencies in Nigeria as well as those of Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The lecture afforded the CAS to share thoughts with the participants on how the National Defence Policy prescribes that the NAF should be employed, out of which the mission statement of the NAF was coined. Air Marshal Abubakar also spoke on the current and likely threats as well as contingencies from the perspective of air operations. He then elucidated on his vision for the NAF while also highlighting current efforts at actualising it.
Some of the initiatives included but are not limited to the establishment of new commands and some units, improvement in human capacity development, improved aircraft serviceability and logistics support as well as enhanced personnel welfare. He also spoke about the efforts being made in the area of research and development towards improved self-sufficiency, as a result of which the NAF is currently making great savings in foreign exchange.
Thereafter, he discussed the current NAF Force structure, doctrine, current capabilities and equipment holding in response to threats alongside the NAF’s strategic plan before looking at NAF future perspectives.
The CAS equally examined the challenges and constraints to the NAF’s air power effectiveness before concluding the lecture by discussing the strategies to countering the challenges enumerated. The lecture was followed by a stimulating interactive session.
In his closing remarks, the Commandant of NDC, Rear Admiral Adeniyi Osinowo, declared that “You cannot win any war today without an effective and virile Air Force”. He then added that there was no doubt that the current NAF leadership is taking a lot of laudable and unprecedented steps, especially in the area of technological development, in a bid to reposition the NAF for greatness. He particularly cited the recent feats by the NAF in locally designing and producing an operational Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, among many other breakthroughs in the area of research and development. He then seized the opportunity to congratulate the CAS on the recent passage of the bill establishing the Air Force Institute of Technology Kaduna, which he believed would further enhance technological growth in the NAF.
It is recalled that the NAF had also earlier announced plans to establish FOBs in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, as part of its commitment to combatting emerging security challenges in those parts of the country.