The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has revealed some of the benefits being enjoyed by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in its approach to aircraft reactivation. As much as practicable, the NAF now carries out major maintenance on its aircraft locally, either in conjunction with local companies or by inviting foreign experts to come and carry out the reactivation in Nigeria. Aside from the huge cost savings in foreign currency, he stated that more of NAF technicians are gaining technical expertise while the reactivation turnaround times are now much reduced. The CAS made the revelations on the final day of his 2-day operational visit to the NAF’s 115 Special Operations Group (SOG) in Port Harcourt, where he inspected 2 NAF helicopters that were undergoing reactivation. He expressed satisfaction with the progress of work, which when completed, would further boost the operational effectiveness of the NAF. The helicopters undergoing reactivation include one Dauphin Helicopter, being reactivated at the facility of AeroContractors in Port Harcourt, and one Mi-35P Helicopter, being reactivated by some foreign experts in conjuction with NAF technicians in Port Harcourt. The CAS and his team also witnessed a ground instruction class, in which an experienced civilian pilot from AeroContractors was teaching young NAF pilots. While reiterating his call for similar organizations and companies to lend their support to the NAF, in its current campaigns, Air Marshal Abubakar commended AeroContractors for making its services available to the NAF at no cost.
The CAS later visited the operational wing of 115 SOG, where he was briefed on the Unit’s contributions to the operations in the North East and in the South South of the country. Thereafter, Air Marshal Abubakar inspected other ongoing projects in the Unit. The projects inspected included the nearly completed Base Defence Coordination Centre, from where all the measures towards protecting the Unit's air assets would be coordinated. He also visited the Unit’s Medical Centre, which was being modified to accommodate X-ray and dialysis equipment. The medical centre was also being expanded to create an additional ward.
It would be recalled that the CAS commenced the operational visit to 115 SOG Port Harcourt on 7 July 2017, when he called for support from relevant civilian organizations and companies in the NAF’s fight against insecurity in Nigeria. He had also earlier commissioned a new residential accommodation for airmen and airwomen. The new accommodation was named after a fallen heroine, Aircraftwoman Abdulmalik.