*NAF says it now maintains Alpha jets in Nigeria
By Doris Esa
The Nigerian Air Force said it is expecting the delivery of two units of Agusta Westland 109 Power attack helicopters, representing the first batch, ordered from Italy.
NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, announced this on Saturday in Abuja.
He disclosed that the aircraft would be inducted into the service by President Muhammadu Buhari in March 2019.
In a further boost of its aerial power, NAF recently recovered another Alpha Jet aircraft, NAF 476, from the United States of America.
He said the aircraft, which was ferried into Nigeria on Dec. 6, would soon be deployed for operations in the Northeast.
Daramola also announced that NAF has begun the local Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) of three Alpha jets at the 407 Air Combat Training Group (407 ACTG) , Kainji.
He said the in-country PDM, which commenced on Dec.19, was expected to further boost aircraft availability for the conduct of air operations, whilst enhancing the capacity of NAF engineers and technicians involved in the maintenance.
“It would also further improve the NAF’s self-reliance and prudent management of resources,” he said.
He said with the support of the Federal Government, the NAF was also conducting in-country PDM of one of its C-130 aircraft, NAF 917, at the 631 Aircraft TVMaintenance Depot (631 ACMD).
“The PDM on NAF 917 has reached an advanced stage while the in-house life extension programme on another C-130H aircraft, NAF 913, was completed earlier this year.
“These have all contributed to raising the serviceability status of NAF operable aircraft from about 36 per cent in 2015 to its current levels of between 78 and 82 per cent,” he said.