Nigeria expecting three power helicopters, says air chief

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has said the Nigerian Air Force is expecting two Agusta 109 Power helicopters and one Mi-35M attack helicopter to deal with security challenges across the country.

The air chief stated this on Thursday while defending the NAF 2019 budget at the National Assembly before the Senate Committee on Air Force, noting that 669 officers, 7,693 airmen and airwomen had been recruited between 2015 and 2019.

The air chief said, “The air force was involved in several internal security operations to deal with terrorism, banditry and other forms of criminalities in the country. There is increase in the serviceability of flyable aircraft from about 33 per cent in July 2015 to the current rate of between 78 and 82 per cent.

“This has facilitated the conduct of over 43,000 sorties of about 57,000 hours within the period for various operations. Also, 22 new aircraft had been inducted into the NAF fleet and 13 previously unserviceable aircraft reactivated, with another eight currently being overhauled.

“The NAF will soon take delivery of two Agusta 109 Power attack helicopters, as well as another Mi-35M helicopter gunship. This administration has commissioned a total of 669 officers and recruited 7,693 airmen and airwomen. Presently, another 206 officers are in training.”

According to a release by the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, on Thursday, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Air Force, Senator Samuel Faseyi, said the desire of the 8th National Assembly for thoroughness and transparency informed its decision to give attention to the 2019 Budget.
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