Nigerian Air Force and Turkey strengthen defence cooperation


A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) delegation has pledged closer cooperation with Turkey while on a visit to the Middle Eastern nation, while unconfirmed reports suggest Nigeria has ordered six T-129 attack helicopters from Turkish Aerospace Industries.

The NAF’s Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, met with the Commander of the Turkish Air Force (TurAF), General Hasan Kucukakyuz during a recent five-day official visit to Turkey.

The NAF on 23 July said the two air forces expressed their willingness to collaborate on defence technology in order to enhance their operational efficiency in the fight against terrorism currently being experienced by both countries. Both sides also emphasised the need for Nigeria and Turkey to share their experiences on the use of unmanned aircraft systems in counterterrorism operations. This, according to them, would enable strategic synergy and enhance proficiency with renewed commitment to wipe out terrorism.

Appreciating Turkish military experience in counter-terrorism operation which spanned over a decade, Amao stated that Turkey was able to achieve operational successes against terrorists due to the usage of the right military equipment. “Turkey has succeeded in developing a robust defence industrial sector capable of meeting a significant percentage of critical requirements of her armed forces and other security agencies”, he said.

Amao called for greater collaborations with the Turkish Air Force Command, even as he said, the NAF appreciates the existing cooperation in the areas of training and extension of invitation for NAF personnel participation in some Turkish Air Force international military exercises. He also requested more support from the Turkish Air Force in upgrading and modernising platforms, air defence training, special forces training as well as training slots in information communication technology for NAF personnel.

Amao noted that the two countries could greatly benefit from military student exchange training programmes. He stated that the signing of Defence Industry Cooperation Agreement by the two countries offered greater opportunity for the NAF and Turkish Air Force to work more closely together.

Kucukakyuz said the Turkish Air Force is willing to deepen cooperation with the NAF by assisting the service in any area that could ultimately strengthen its operational capabilities. He stated that the NAF would, from now, fully participate in its international military exercises, including Anatolia Eagle. General Hasan promised to liaise with the NAF and assist in all areas of military cooperation with other services in Turkey as well as defence procurement concerns.

During the five-day visit, the CAS toured some prominent Turkish defence companies for identification of possible defence products that could be required by the NAF. These include Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Aselsan, Havelsan, Manatek, BNW Group, Fly BVLOS and Airways Group and Express Technics.

This week, reports emerged of that Nigeria would be acquiring six T-129 attack helicopters from Turkey, but this has not been officially confirmed. Nigeria is known to be interested in acquiring 12 AH-1Z Viper helicopters from the United States, while India has offered its HAL Light Attack Helicopter. Some years ago, Nigeria expressed interest in Denel’s Rooivalk.