The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has commissioned five new Super Mushak trainer aircraft recently acquired from Pakistan by the Nigerian Air Force for the training of personnel and counter insurgency operations.
At the inauguration ceremony of the aircraft and graduation of 16 pilots held at the Airforce base in Kaduna State today, Professor Osinbajo who was represented by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, said it is important for the country to explore all options in tackling its security challenges.
This, he said, includes taking advantage of technological breakthrough in various sectors.
The Super Mushak plane, historically used as a training aircraft, has been integrated with a new glass cockpit and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities by fitting the aircraft with electro-optic/infrared sensor turrets and an L3 Wescam MX-10 surveillance device.
The aircraft has a service ceiling of 22,000 feet, and a maximum speed of 268km/h.
Five of it arrived Nigeria from Pakistan on July 14, 2017, and has been testing flown to ensure that their performance meets the desired specifications.
The Air Force authorities disclosed that additional five of such aircraft will arrive Nigeria before the end of the year.
The commissioning of the planes by the acting president marks its formal induction for military training and counter insurgency operations.
The induction of the new Super Mushak trainer aircraft, according to the representative of the Acting President is an indication of the present government’s resolve to provide security for the citizens.
Reacting to the rising cases of suicide bombings by the Boko Haram group in the north east, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, believes that having the best training and its supporting equipment is the only way the Nigerian military can win the war against insurgency and other related crimes across the country.
Meanwhile, the Defence Minister, Mr Mansur Dan Ali noted that the recent rise in suicide bomb attacks by the terrorists is a sign of weakness and cowardice, insisting that the military is winning the war against terror.
About 16 cadets of the Nigerian Defence Academy were graduated from the Airforce Flying Training School as pilots, as part of efforts to reposition the service into a highly professional and disciplined force.
The acquisition of the five new Super Mushak aircraft by the Nigerian Air Force is coming at a time the country is still battling with terrorism and other emerging security challenges.
The authorities, therefore, believe that with adequate funding and capacity building for officers and men, the feat could be harnessed in winning the war against terrorism and other crimes.