The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, says strengthening strategic partnership with other Air Forces will provide pathway to an enduring and comprehensive solution to challenges encountered in pilot trainings.
Abubakar made this known when he met with the Commander of Czech Air Force, Maj.-Gen. Petr Cepelka at the ongoing Future Air Force 2023 Conference in Praque, Czech Republic.
He said the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) was poised to strengthen its strategic partnership with the Czech Air Force in the areas of technological transfer, capacity building as well as research and development.
The partnership, according to him, will enhance the proficiency of NAF maintenance crew to be able to undertake some major maintenance works in-country, thereby reducing aircraft downtime, while improving air operations.
Abubakar sought the cooperation and collaboration of the Czech air force in the areas of counterterrorism, counterinsurgency and pilot training.
He said that NAF had since the initial purchase of the L-39 aircraft in 1986, received more support from the Czech air force, adding that the NAF had continued to maintain active relationship with the Czech air force.
According to him, NAF has in the past collaborated with the Czech air force on pilot trainings on L-39Z aircraft simulator, altitude chamber and spatial disorientation training for several NAF pilots across different platforms, which have positively impacted on NAF’s fighting capabilities.
At the conference, Abubakar delivered a paper titled: “Pilot Training in the Nigerian Air Force – An Assessment”.
He said the development and employment of air power capabilities were increasingly becoming critical to the dynamic security environment where threats originated from both state and non-state actors.
He added that the constitutional role of the NAF in tackling Nigeria’s security challenges in concert with other security services, demanded constant generation, delivery and sustenance of a diverse range of credible air power capabilities as well as a vastly agile and resilient air force.
This, according to him, is predicated on the crucial need for the NAF to have the necessary human capacity for mission accomplishment, hence the need to ensure that the NAF trained its pilots to the highest professional standards for effective air power delivery.
He said that undertaking the training tasks in a climate of high tempo, harsh economic realities and limited technological expertise presented its own challenges which were key considerations in preparing pilots for current and future operations.
The CAS also held meeting with officials of Aero Vodochody, who were the Original Equipment Manufacturers of the NAF L-39Z aircraft, where issues related scheduling and timing of overhaul and avionics upgrade of 3 NAF L-39Z were discussed, among others.
Responding, the Czech Chief of Air Staff, thanked Air Marshal Abubakar for sustaining the long history of mutual relationship that had existed between the two air forces.
Cepelka assured him of the Czech air force support in the areas of aircraft acquisition, maintenance, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operations and training of NAF Special Forces.
On his part, the representatives of aviation-related industries including Lockheed Martins, Aero Vodochody, SAAB and OMNIPOL were also in attendance to acquaint the participants with new trends in technologies in defence and security.