A Nigerian state government, Kwara State has expressed the desire to partner with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to boost the capacity of the International Aviation College (IAC), Ilorin with a view to positioning the institution to better support the aviation industry in Nigeria.
The governor of the state, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, recently expressed the desire when he visited the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, at the headquarters of NAF in Abuja.
Governor Abdulrazaq stated that the IAC would want to leverage on the NAF’s expertise and experience to improve its services, especially in the training of pilots as well as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operators and maintenance crew. He however suggested that the NAF could consider operating its C-130H aircraft from the 303 Medium Airlift Group (303 MAG) Ilorin since it has a hangar at the location, observing that this would further boost aviation-related activities in the State.
Responding, the Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar expressed the NAF’s willingness to partner with the Kwara State Government to boost the activities of the IAC. He noted that, while more work needed to be done to make the 303 MAG Hangar ready for use by NAF C-130H, arrangements could be made to emplace essential support equipment that would make occasional use of the facility possible.
Air Marshal Abubakar however remarked that it would be best to set up a technical committee, comprising members from the NAF and the Kwara State Government/IAC, to work out modalities for actualizing the partnership.
The governor was conducted on a tour of the NAF Aircrew Memorial Arcade, where he laid a wreath and prayed for the repose of the souls of NAF aircrew who had paid the supreme price in service to the nation.
In another development, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has taken delivery of another reactivated aircraft, an ATR-42 (NAF 930) to sustain efforts at ensuring the availability of more serviceable Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms for the prosecution of the war against insurgency and other forms of criminality in the country.
According to Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, Director of Public Relations and Information of NAF, the aircraft was received at the flight line of 307 Executive Airlift Group, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao, on behalf of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
The reactivation of the aircraft, which was successfully executed at the Rheinland Air Services (RAS) Facilities, Monchengladbach, Germany after clocking 5,000 hours of operation, was earlier scheduled to be completed within 6 months. However, due to the effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the completion date was extended by 3 months.
It would be recalled that, over the last 5 years, the NAF, in collaboration with its technical partners, has successfully reactivated some of its platforms in-country, including the conduct of Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) on 2 C-130H aircraft as well as the PDM/Avionics upgrade of 3 Alpha Jets. However, being the first PDM on the ATR-42 aircraft (NAF 930) after 10 years of operation, it was considered expedient to conduct this major maintenance activity abroad to take advantage of the facilities and expertise of RAS as well as build the capacity of the NAF Engineers and Technicians that participated in the reactivation process in Germany.
Other dignitaries present to receive the newly reactivated aircraft were the Director of Operations, AVM Ayoola Jolasinmi, Director of Air Engineering, AVM Isah Muhammad, and the Commander 307 EAG, Air Commodore Francis Edosa.