•Super Tucano jets won’t resolve all challenges
A security expert and analyst, Col Tony Nyiam (rtd) has attributed the recent downing of a Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet by terrorists on the age of the aircraft and the inadequacies of fighting an unconventional warfare without accompanying modern technological devices that could aid the quick detection of enemy positions from the skies.
Nyiam, one of the key actors in the April 1990 aborted Gideon Orkar military coup, disclosed that the jet fighter involved in the air mishap had been in use for over thirty years.
In a chat with Sunday Telegraph, Nyiam postulated that it was possible that the aged Alhpa Jet lacked a laser- guided capability and the pilot may have flown low to carry out a successful dive bombing, a field craft technique that may have rendered the old military aircraft vulnerable to small arms fire.
“It’s also possible that Flt Lt Abayomi Dairo may have been coming low to confirm that his target is not civilians. This is why he deserves our commendation. “It may be inferred from all stated so far that the Alpha Jet aircraft didn’t come under the more dangerous surface to air missiles (SAMs) attacks, which is a much more sophisticated threat,” Nyam said.
On the Super Tucano military aircraft just received from the United States, Nyiam made it clear that the new aircraft would not be the all and all airborne military asset required for the counter insurgency war. “What, in my humble opinion is needed to combat the kind of unconventional armed forces is helicopter gunships.
For example, Mi 17 or 24 or 32, Airborne platform, such as “Aerostat” to act as the nucleus of the required tactical deployment. “The use of first responders from the locals of area of military operations are essential. It’s through this type of combined tactical operations that real-time intelligence can be provided, thus making it easier to direct air and ground forces operations,” the expert said.
An Alpha Jet belonging to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), crashed on Sunday, July 18, after a fierce attack by terrorists operating in the North West region of the country.
The fighter Jet was returning from an interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna states, when it came under intense enemy fire. Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), NAF, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, disclosed that the pilot of the aircraft, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, successfully “ejected” to safety.
According to Gabkwet, the crash site has since been located, including the parachute, which facilitated the pilot’s ejection.
The United States government had sometime last year, alerted Nigeria of an emerging alliance between Boko Haram and other international terrorists organisations.
In a report released in May 2020, the US warned that Boko Haram had begun working closely with the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) while Al Qaeda had reportedly started making inroads into the country.
In their usual manner of handling such intelligence, the Federal Government of Nigeria dismissed the warning as mere propaganda, fabricated by foreign interests and amplified by doomsday prophets in the opposition party in the country.
However, it is becoming evident that the so-called bandits operating in the North West and North Central regions are part and parcel of the terror cocktail being served on Nigeria.