Africa Air Force Forum sets the stage for Nigerian Air Force 60th anniversary

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Ahead of a display tomorrow (Saturday, 25 May) to mark the 60th anniversary of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), the third Africa Air Force Forum (AAFF) has provided what was termed insightful discussions, innovative presentations and significant networking opportunities.

AAFF 2024, which runs from 23 to 25 May, was opened by NAF Air Marshal Hasan Bala Abubakar followed by an overview of the 60 years of military aviation in the West African country.

“We’ve come a long way, having developed from inception in 1964 into a force to reckon with on the African continent and the world at large. In its 60 years of its existence, international co-operation and partnerships have remained a key component of NAF interactions with other air forces and international companies, pursuant to enhancing its capabilities and effectiveness in the discharge of its mandate,” Abubakar said.

“Being a highly technical force has made it exigent for the NAF to partner with technologically advanced countries and their resident original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for the acquisition of necessary platforms and expertise to function. Another area of partnership is sharing knowledge, experiences and resources with other air forces, through platforms such as the African Air Forces Forum.”

Goodwill messages from air force leaders including Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, the United States (US) and China, highlighted the importance of international collaboration in enhancing air power and security. Speakers included Lieutenant General Yilma Merdasa of the Ethiopian Air Force, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari of the Indian Air Force, General David W Allvin of the United States Air Force and Lieutenant General Jia Zhigang of the Chinese PLA Air Force.

A report from the AAFF has it industry leaders on day one shared insights and innovations showcasing solutions to enhance operational efficiency and security. Presentations were made by Squadron Leader Muhammad Bilawal of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC), Yang Zonglin of Aerospace Longmarch International Trade Co (ALIT), Luis Miguel Serrano Alcubilla of Airbus Defence and Space, and Paballo Motoboli and Arnaud Sobrero of Embraer Defence.

Day two of the Africa Air Force Forum included a session on Aerospace Innovation and the Global Fight Against Terrorism, Violent Extremism, and Insurgencies, highlighting the critical role of strategic partnerships in enhancing regional security.

AAFF, according to the organisers, aims to highlight the importance of collaborative efforts in leveraging air power for stability and security across Africa. Delegates include professionals from air forces, aviation authorities, as enforcement, defence ministries as well as interior ministries.

The previous Africa Air Force Forum was held in Senegal in October last year under the theme of Adapting Air Force Capabilities and Drone Deployment to Combat Modern Conflicts. Senegal also hosted the first edition, in October 2022, which drew 300 attendees from 40 nations.