The Nigerian Air Force has taken delivery of three King Air light transport aircraft and has reportedly ordered 40 new helicopters as it continues its expansion.
The three King Air 350is were seen transiting the Canary Islands during their delivery flight on July 30. The aircraft were acquired “in line with the transformation agenda of the Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the Armed Forces [of the] Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan,” the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) said in a statement.
The aircraft were handed over to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, by Scott Plumb, the Vice President Sales, Middle East, Textron Aviation Austria, at the 209 Executive Airlift Group’s Hangar at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja.
Amosu stated that the acquisition of the King Airs will go a long way in boosting the airlift capacity of the NAF. “It will also go down memory lane that the entire aircraft in the NAF inventory were all reactivated under the present administration.” Amosu said that additional platforms were expected in the future.
“We are happy with the operations branch of the Service, our training is going on well and it will continue so. We need to be ready for training and retraining with a desire to appropriately sustain the system,” he added.
Regarding training, the Nigerian Air Force Institute of Technology (NAFIT) has apparently developed a light trainer aircraft called Farawa 2. NAFIT chief Air Vice Marshal Toni Adokwu this week made the revelation during a graduation ceremony at the institute, reports the Daily Trust.
“Currently, the NAF is faced with the challenge of high unserviceablility status of its primary trainer aircraft, the Air Beetle aircraft, which is equally a light trainer aircraft. Some of the problems associated with the aircraft include the high engine temperature and uncomfortable seats for instructors and student pilots. We believe the design and construction of this new trainer aircraft would address some of the challenges and ultimately address the issue of aircraft unserviceability,” Adokwu said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian government has apparently ordered 40 helicopters for attack and transport duties from the United States and Russia. This Day said the helicopters could start arriving as early as this month and the remainder could arrive by the end of the year.
“The arrival of the weaponry before the end of the year will be a game changer as it will help to ensure successful execution of the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations, especially against the Boko Haram terrorists,” This Day quoted a source in the Presidency as saying.
It was earlier reported that Nigeria is receiving two helicopter gunships, most likely Mi-35s. The Nigerian Budget Office this year allocated funds for six Mi-35M helicopters.