For the second time, the Nigerian Airforce (NAF), successfully refurbished a C130 aircraft in order to enhance prompt deployment of troops to the operational areas of battle fields and in the process saved the Federal Government huge foreign exchange expenditures as well as improved human resources capacity.
The Chief of Air Staff(CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar declared at the acceptance and commissioning ceremony of the newly resuscitated C130(NAF 913) Aircraft including three Toyota Land Cruiser “Buffalo” trucks, which held at Ikeja on January 29.
Speaking on the importance of the C130 fleet, he said: “This aircraft is very critical in what we are doing all over the country, it will be deployed to move the troops , equipment, armour, and so many other ammunitions that are being under taken by this aircraft.
“It was mentioned that it distributed some relief materials to quite a number of countries, so it is very critical to what we are doing and we are very excited that we are able to handle the major maintenance with the Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM).
“ This is the second time in that we are able to conduct PDM locally here in Ikeja and our desire is to see that we are able to conduct the third one, which is NAF 918, and I believe that If it is possible the level of training our personnel have received various things that have been involved in the PDM .
“It is very clear to us that we are building the required capacity, Nigerians can now be going to be fully involved in this maintenance and very soon we are not going to invite anybody again.”
The C 130 aircraft took entry in May 2019 for the in country PDM, were successfully conducted by the expertise of Pakistani Air Force and Nigerian Air Force engineers including Technicians that participated in the project.
Elated for the timely completion of the maintenance activities on the aircraft, he said: “The aircraft, NAF 913, would improve the operational efficiency of the Nigerian Air Force and not only that, it would give the required impetus for prompt deployment of troops.
“And the provision of logistic support required for operational effectiveness in all theatres of operation. This accomplishment is a clear manifestation that our efforts at enhancing self-reliance are gradually producing the desired outcome.”
For the 19 NAF personnel that were presented certificates of participation, he admonished: “I urge our engineers and technicians to make the best use of the knowledge acquired during the Periodic Depot Maintenance, so that you can effectively apply same in the conduct of future maintenance on the C-130H fleet.”
On how it affected the government, he said: “I am happy to note that some of the benefits of the in-country Periodic Depot Maintenance include saving the nation huge foreign exchange and significantly improving our human resource capacity and competence thereby repositioning the NAF for better service delivery.
“Our modest accomplishments, so far have greatly enhanced the serviceability of our aircraft fleets and boosted our capability to project air power within and beyond the shores of our dear country.
“It is worthy to mention that apart from this C-130H being commissioned today; we are equally undertaking the local reactivation of Three Alpha Jets and one Mi-35P helicopter.
“It is also my belief that in a few months time, we will also be here to commission the third C-130H, that is, NAF 918. These local capacity enhancement efforts are in line with the Federal Government policies and aspirations that encourage Ministries, Departments and Agencies to look inwards and evolve innovative solutions to the myriad of challenges the nation is confronted with.”
He added: “The NAF will continue to pursue its capacity building initiatives through the conduct of local Periodic Depot Maintenance of all aircraft types. This will undoubtedly enable the Service to fulfill its primary responsibilities as provided in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to meet a broad range of national security imperatives.
“Additionally, as part of our continuing determination to ensure the protection of the critical assets and infrastructure that enable us to project air power, today. I shall also be inducting into service three Toyota Land Cruiser “Buffalo” trucks. I believe that these additional Base Defence Vehicles would provide increased mobility to our patrol and rapid response teams in the conduct of their essential duties.”
The Air Chief, who was there to carry out ceremony the previous year said: “You would recall that I was here on 24 June 2019 to commission the first of the three C-130H aircraft upon the completion of its Periodic Depot Maintenance.”
It effectiveness went beyond theatres of operation: “The aircraft (NAF 917) has subsequently been involved in so many missions both within and outside the country. Prominent among the missions conducted was the delivery of relief materials to flood victims in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, as well as moving logistics for ongoing operations nationwide. So far, the aircraft has successfully flown 732 hours since the Periodic Depot Maintenance was completed.
“From the onset of this administration, we had determined that it was imperative that we develop sufficient local maintenance capacity and capability to enable us effectively project air power for current and future operations. One critical aspect of air power is Strategic airlift capability.
“This important requirement of the Nigerian Air Force is essential to the deployment and sustenance of forces across distant battlefields.
“ In this regard, judicious efforts were made to locally conduct Periodic Depot Maintenance of three C-130H aircraft; NAF 917, 913 and 918 so as to boost combat support efforts for Armed Forces’ operations across the country.”
The Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Logistics Command (LC), Air Vice Marshal (AVM), Lawal Shittu – Alao said that: “Since its inception in July 2015, the current NAF leadership has put in place several measures to guarantee effective and efficient air power delivery.
“Major among these is the administration’s focus on human capacity development for self-reliance in the maintenance of NAF platforms and associated support equipment.
“To achieve this lofty objective, the current NAF administration has intensified the conduct of in-country Periodic Depot Maintenance, which before now was conducted overseas on selected NAF aircraft including the C-130H fleet.
“It is against this background that contract for the in-country PDM was awarded to Messrs. Shaheen Foundation in April 2019 to conduct PDM of one C-130H aircraft NAF 913 in collaboration with NAF engineers and technicians inside this hangar. The project is among others expected to improve in-depth maintenance capacity of NAF technicians at the Depot.
“Today’s commissioning and acceptance ceremony of C-130H Aircraft NAF 913, marks the successful completion of the in-country Periodic Depot Maintenance which is a calendar inspection conducted at every four-year intervals or after every 4,000 Flying Hours.”
The Commander, 631 Aircraft Maintenance Depot (ACMD), Air Vice Marshal, Moses Onilede spoke on the milestone of the PDM , the training of the NAF personnel with a 10-minute video documentary of the entire PDM including the presentation of certificates. He said that: “The PDM was jointly conducted by the NAF and Pakistan Airforce personnel .The 32 weeks of PDM in country of C130 and NAF 913 began May 23, 2019 and was scheduled to cover nine milestone preliminary aircraft inspection.”
According to him: “19 NAF Personnel that were attached to the Pakistan Air Force engineers for capacity building is in line with the contract agreement for NAF 913 aircraft in country PDM.
The Director General, Shaheen Foundation of Pakistan Airforce (PAF), Air Commodore Hussain (rtd), who conducted a formal training for NAF personnel, said that the Chief of Air Staff was seriously engaged in capacity building for the NAF personnel.
“And through the knowledge sharing, we had successful completion of PDM project and together we would achieve the agreement goal and self-reliance. NAF had already embarked on new builder of cooperation in the training of PDM. We are now in partners in progress and have achieved good sense of cooperation.
“But it is not only on classroom training but also sharing knowledge and experience through knowledge and successful completion of development together we would achieve the agreement goal.”