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The UK has deployed officers from the Royal Air Force (RAF) Force Protection (FP) Wing from RAF Lossiemouth to Nigeria to train the Nigerian Air Force Regiment for six weeks.
The Royal Air Force is the UK’s aerial warfare force formed toward the end of the First World War on April 1, 1918 and it is the oldest independent air force in the world.
A statement by the UK High Commission, Press Officer in Nigeria, Joe Abuku, said this on Thursday in Abuja.
Abuku said that the detachment was made up of a 66 person Short Term Training Team (STTT) from No. 5 FP Wing of RAF.
“The focus of the STTT is to deliver a training package which enables students to operate effectively in the Complex Air Ground Environment (CAGE) by understanding their role to provide security and Force Protection operations both inside and outside an Air base.
“This forms a key part of a layered defence system; deterring and defeating an enemy away from the airfield whilst also assuring internal security of a base.
“Additionally, Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Officers will be given the opportunity to enhance their tactical leadership and planning skills, whilst the Junior Air-officers will build on the skills they learned during basic training,” he said.
He explained that the detachment, the third undertaken by 5 FP Wing in a five year programme came after a request from Nigeria.
He said that the Nigerian Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, had requested UK to assist in capacity building for the Nigerian Air Force Regiment.
He quoted Abubakar as saying, “given the importance of bases in the airpower delivery matrix, it is not inconceivable to expect our adversaries to target our airbases.
“As a matter of fact, we have had an attack on one of our airbases in the recent past, and current intelligence reports keep highlighting the possibility of attacks on our bases.
“All these reinforce the need to emplace a robust base defence concept that is capable of providing guidance for responding to a wide range of situations that may threaten our bases.”
He quoted Officer Commanding 5 FP Wing, Wing Commander John Rees as expressing delight that the detachment was in Nigeria and appreciated the warmth welcome given to them.
“We are proud of our Royal Air Force heritage and the opportunity to represent our service in the Defence Engagement arena,” Rees said.
The Wing Commander said that the detachment had already delivered Train the Trainer package to 50 Non Commissioned Officers and Commissioned Officers.
He added that a further 250 students would now begin the Foundation Phase bringing a total of around 300 Nigerian personnel to be trained across a mixture of ranks.
The programme, according to him, will culminate with a demanding final exercise at a live airfield to validate the understanding of all skills taught in a realistic environment.
He said that this would be prior to the graduating students deploying to their first operational assignment in the Nigerian Air Force.
He said that the team would wrap up by mid-July.