Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) said it has taken delivery of five new trainer aircraft which also marks the final batch of the 10 aircraft ordered by the Federal Government from Pakistan.
The aircraft, a Super Mushshak brand, and fitted with digital glass cockpit, are said to be capable of being used for acrobatics training.
NAF, director of public relations and information, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, said the aircraft would be assembled in Nigeria by a team of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and NAF technicians prior to test flying and formal induction into the NAF.
Adesanya, who made this known in statement said that the Ilyushin 76 Strategic Airlifter aircraft, that brought the new Super Mushshak aircraft touched down at NAF Base Kaduna at exactly 7.45 am, on Sunday.
He also said a combined team of NAF and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) personnel were on hand to assist in offloading the new aircraft, some parts of which came in crates, noting that officials of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) were present to ensure necessary documentation.
The statement made available to Daily Sun, said “the Chief of Logistics at NAF Headquarters, Air Vice Marshal Bello Garba, received the new aircraft on behalf of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
“The newly received aircraft, five in number, form the final batch of a total of 10 Super Mushshak aircraft, the procurement of which the current Federal Government administration initiated in 2016.
“As at 2015, local primary flying training in the NAF was almost grounded thereby necessitating the procurement of the Super Mushshak Aircraft.
“Consequently, with the delivery of the new Super Mushshak aircraft, primary flying training of NAF pilots at 401 Flying Training School (FTS), Kaduna has just received a boost.
“Without doubts, the delivery of the aircraft would go a long way in helping to sustain the process of building capacity to effectively prosecute the counterinsurgency operations in the North East as well as other forms of criminalities in the country,” the statement said
It would be recalled that the NAF took delivery of the first batch of 5 brand new Super Mushshak Aircraft on 14 July 2017, following which the aircraft were inducted and deployed for primary training of NAF pilots.
Some NAF personnel had undergone training in Pakistan, as Instructor Pilots and technicians on the Super Mushshak aircraft, as part of the contract.
The delivery went without any hitches and the Ilyushin 76 aircraft has departed from Nigeria.