Nigeria Army Aviation Corps will soon be operational – COAS


The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Wednesday said the Nigerian Army Aviation Corps would become fully operational before the expiration of the present administration.

Buratai disclosed this in Abuja at the opening of the COAS 2016 First Quarter Conference.

He said the first batch of pilots undergoing training would graduate in May 2016, while the aviation technicians have completed their training and subsequently deployed to the northeast for the counter-insurgency operation.

According to Buratai, the take-off of the aviation corps remains key to the vision of the present Army administration in transforming its operations and efficiency of its workforce.

“The Nigerian Army Aviation Corps is still in progress. It is hoped that very soon, the Army would be able to acquire its own platforms to enable the corps kick off wholly.

“So far, the main activities being undertaken are the training of pilots and technicians and also the necessary negotiations for the acquisition of helicopters.

“The trainee pilots comprising 10 officers are still undergoing flying course at the International Helicopter Flying School in Enugu and would complete their training before the end of May 2016.

“The 20 aviation technicians who recently completed the six months refresher course in aircraft maintenance have been deployed to the northeast and the immediate training of engineers is being considered.’’

Buratai added that the Army authority had compiled a list of platforms it planned to acquire from Russian, American and Chinese origin including simulators and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

He said the corps would take-off with any platform the authority was able to acquire in the interim with the target of developing into an effective support to Army operations anywhere in the world.

On the counter-insurgency operation, Buratai commended the efforts of troops and urged brigade and corps commanders to give their troops the required support to hasten the ongoing clearance operations.

He affirmed that the insurgents have been seriously decimated and hinted that the operations would soon be brought to a close by the military.

On the conference, Buratai said it was aimed at evaluating the Army’s performances in all operations in the last quarter of 2015 with the view to making adjustments in its engagements in the second quarter of 2016.

He said troops operations, logistic requirements were among issues that would dominate discussions at the conference.

Buratai informed participants of efforts made by the present Army administration to address welfare needs of personnel and their families in the barracks.

He assured soldiers and officers that schools and medical facilities in military barracks would receive special attention from the Federal Government in the 2016 fiscal year.

Earlier, the Chief of Policy and Plans, Army Headquarters, Maj.-Gen. Jack Ogunewe, said the conference would provide the opportunity to assess the activities of the different Army formations and units.

He said it was also an opportunity for the authority to evaluate its strategies and tactics with the view to reviewing them to align with emerging threats and challenges.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that participants at the conference include branch chiefs at the Army headquarters, corps commanders and heads of military institutions and units across the country.

NAN also reports that the high point of the opening session was the launch of the second edition of the Nigerian Army Doctrine by the COAS.

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