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Nigerian Army takes delivery of first set of aircrafts, as army aviation becomes a reality

Stanley Ihedigbo

Nigerian Army (NA) has taken a significant step in enhancing its operational capabilities with the delivery of the first batch of new aircrafts. The berthing of the aircrafts marks a significant milestone in the development of the Nigerian Army Aviation’s capacity to provide air support for ground operations.

According to the Director Army Public Relations, Major General Onyema Nwachukwu, the aircraft BELL UH-1H (HUEY) helicopters, were formally received by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja in a brief ceremony held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Thursday 20 June, 2024.
Receiving the aircrafts, General Lagbaja, noted that the renewed drive to establish an NA Aviation wing was conceived by the then-former COAS, Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah (rtd), in 2014, with a three-phase ten-year implementation plan.
The COAS extolled former Chiefs of Army Staff, maintaining, that their tenacity and drive, along with the collective efforts of personnel and Nigerian Government’s political will, have been instrumental in realizing the fruition of NA Aviation.
Gen Lagbaja appreciated the various successive administrations for their support in training NA Pilots and Ground Crews as well as putting in place requisite structures. The COAS profoundly expressed gratitude to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for fulfilling his promise to fund the acquisition of NA platforms and providing all support to actualize the dream.
The BELL UH-1H Helicopters are equipped with advanced sensors and enablers to conduct a range of missions, including reconnaissance, surveillance, rescue, logistics, transportation, and medical evacuation.
The Army Chief also appreciated the forerunners, particularly the sister services and the Nigerian Police Force Aviation wing, for their support and encouragement.
He noted that the NA is spurred to serve the nation better with the acquisition of the new platforms and provide Nigerians, an enabling environment for economic prosperity.
In his remarks, the Coordinator, NA Aviation, Brigadier General Musa Alkali, stated that the arrival of the NA Aviation vanguard platforms is a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to enhance the operational capabilities of the NA Aviation, in line with the COAS’s Command Philosophy.
Brig Gen Alkali stressed that the acquisition of the platforms is a clear demonstration of the NA’s aviation resolve, which started 40 years ago to continuously improve and adapt in the face of an evolving security landscape, adding that this will boost the NA’s reconnaissance, surveillance, and air mobility capabilities. The Coordinator acknowledged the tireless efforts of those involved in the execution of the NA Aviation plan, as well as the international partners.
Earlier, a Consultant for the Nigerian Army Aviation, Major General Emeka Onwuamaegbu (retired) who is also a trained Helicopter Pilot, lauded the Nigerian Army for sustaining the vision over the years that saw to the actualization of the Nigerian Army aviation.

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