The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), on Friday, graduated 830 Airmen and Airwomen from the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), in Kaduna.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), that those trained would provide support services for the 12 aircraft, three helicopters and three fighter jets NAF expected to be delivered from the United State.
“The Nigerian Air Force is expecting 12 aircraft from the United State of American, three fighter aircraft and three helicopters.
“We need to have the technical manpower to maintain these aircraft.
“Some of the aircrafts we are expecting would be available probably in 2022, but we have started planning ahead of time.”
The CAS reiterated that the training was to boost manpower and capacity in engineering and technical aspects of the Nigerian Air Force.
He added that courses, training and academic drilling the graduates underwent were aimed at giving them the knowledge to prepare for the greater challenges they would face in their operations with the technology powered aircraft.
“With this number of personnel we have trained, we believe we have improved the technical manpower base of the service, because an aircraft without the maintenance support team would not last long flying.”
Abubakar stressed that the continuous training of Air Force personnel would add alot of value to what the Nigeria Air Force hopes to achieve with the change in technological advancement.
“The graduates of AFIT are extremely competent, they can be able to stand any challenge with anybody trained anywhere around the world in aircraft management and operations.
“AFIT is now a full university, there are certain guidelines on how to conduct all the courses to meet foreign standards and in line to curtail what we are facing as challenges.
“Our personnel trained here would have more advantage because they are trained in the environment they would operate.
“We would increase the number of AFIT training staff from 250 to 500 to boost efficiency in the institute.
“Those that we see need to be trained outside Nigeria because we lack the equipment would be send for trainings; we have quite a number of them training there already,” the air chief said.
Earlier, the commandant of AFIT, AVM Cletus Udeagulu, said that the institution is striving hard to provide enabling environment for academics and training to flourish.
He added that the institute has graduated 2,666 Air men, Air Women and civilian students since its establishment and commended the CAS for his support, which facilitated the successes achieved by the institute.
NAN reports that the graduates underwent training in Aerospace Engineering, Aircraft Engineering Technology, Information and Communication Technology, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, among others.
Prizes and awards were given to the best students and training staff in respective fields.(NAN)