By Abiodun OBA
The Federal Government of Nigeria in support of the operationalisation of Nigerian Army Aviation has approved the acquisition of the initial 12 MD 530F Cayuse Attack Helicopters.
The purchase of 12 MD 530F Cayuse Attack Helicopters to actualize the operationalization of the Nigerian Army (NA) Aviation has been approved.
The helicopters approved by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu are to effectively tackle security challenges bedeviling the country, the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, said at the opening of the maiden Nigerian Army Aviation Seminar, on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said the 12 MD 530F Cayuse attack helicopters would operationalise the Nigerian army aviation unit, which was set up to improve ground troops’ agility, responsiveness, and efficacy during operations.
The COAS added that it would also contribute to the overall operational success of joint and coalition troops.
Lagbaja explained that Army aviation was generally separate from a nation’s dedicated Airforce but usually equipped with helicopters and light support fixed-wing aircraft.
He appreciated the President for buying into the aspiration of the Nigerian Army to have an equipped aviation unit which would support ground troops as they focus on tactical and operational engagements.
According to him, the experiences of nations like the United States, Pakistan, Colombia, Egypt, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda are instructive in this area.
The Army Chief further revealed that since 2014, the Nigerian Army has made commendable progress in training pilots, aircraft engineers, technicians, and other ground support crews, adding that the Nigerian Army understands the highly technical nature of the aviation business and the need to be appropriately mentored, hence its international collaborations and submission of its nascent aviation outfit to the mentoring of the Nigerian Air Force, as the Service does not have the luxury of making mistakes when it can learn from other experienced aviation outfits.
The Army Chief noted that the Nigerian Army Aviation is being proactive by organising the first Nigerian Army Aviation Seminar, which is in line with his Command Philosophy of “Transforming the Nigerian Army into a Well-trained, Equipped and Highly Motivated Force towards achieving its Constitutional Responsibilities within a Joint Environment.”