Combat readiness: CAS wings 17 new pilots in Enugu


The Chief of Air Force Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, on Friday in Enugu winged 17 newly trained pilots as part of efforts to improve combat readiness of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).

Amao was represented by the NAF Chief of Policy and Plans, AVM Jackson Yusuf.

The pilots successfully completed the Integrated Helicopter Pilot Course 7/2021 at the 405 Helicopter Training Group (HCTG), Enugu.

He said that NAF had succeeded in training and winging 36 pilots within the last one year, while over 70 officers have been sent for various flying training courses abroad.

“Currently we have over 2,000 personnel undergoing various flights and flying training courses in various training institutions to ensure we meet with contemporary challenges and needs.

“NAF will continue to train its personnel for them to gather the best international experiences and exposure for improved operational efficiency, with the capability to respond swiftly in defence of national security.

“We are laying emphasis on training to ensure that NAF is ready to meet known and emerging security threats confronting the country’s territorial integrity in a joint operating environment,” he said.

The CAS lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for the overwhelming support given to NAF, adding that all NAF flying training schools are now functional.

“The successes recorded by NAF within this time cannot be possible without the overwhelming support of President Muhammadu Buhari that had ensured we effectively live up to our mandate,” Amao said.

The NAF chief congratulated the newly winged officers and called on them to brace up for further training and capacity building to usher them to higher operational and tactical responsibilities.

The Commander, 405 HCTG, Wing Commander Ayodeji Omokunga, explained that the 17 newly winged pilots included a pilot that completed his training in India with excellence.

Omokunga noted that to get passed and certified, the new pilots went through rigorous academic and field training for over a year.

“Today, they have moved from student pilots status to basic pilots and we also have two female pilots that performed well during the training period,” he said.

The commander urged the newly winged pilots to brace up for further training, including special combat and tactical training.

One of the winged pilots, Flying Officer Immanuel Ogwuni, thanked the CAS, NAF chief of training, the Air Officer Commanding Ground Training Command and the Commander 405 HCTG for the opportunity to enhance their capacity.

“We are sincerely grateful and indebted to the NAF leadership and authority for this wonderful opportunity and support given to our career,” Ogwuni said.

Awards were presented to those that performed exceptionally well during the training.