The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, yesterday, disclosed that the air force would be deploring its C130 H Aircraft to support ongoing operations in the North East and Western part of the country, in addition to 19 aircrafts, to address the security situation.
The C130 H aircraft was inducted into the inventory of the Nigerian Air Force in 1985.
Briefing journalists during commissioning of the aircraft at the Air Force Maintenance Deport, Ikeja, the CAS noted that the usefulness of the aircraft to operations in the North East and outside the country, will aid in airlifting explosive devices as well as distribution of food and other materials during operations.
Abubakar said: “This is the first time in the history of the Nigerian Air Force that we are conducting a very successful Periodic Depot Maintenance, PDM, within Nigeria and I think this is sending a good message. It shows that we have Nigerian technicians who have participated actively in ensuring that the PDM is conducted locally. It has saved us from foreign exchange because if we are to carry out this operation outside Nigeria, we have to pay for cargo for it to be moved.
“The C-130H fleet, in particular, has been one of the key fulcrums in providing sustainment to our troops involved in the ongoing internal security operations through airlift and movement of troops, equipment, armament and other material.
“The C-130H has also been critical to NAF response to emergencies or in fulfilling Nigeria’s responsibilities to international peace keeping operations and ensuring stability. This is not just in the West African sub-region but also across the continent.
Earlier, the Air officer Commanding Logistics Command, Abdulganiu Olabisi noted that previous attempt to carry out a PDM on the aircraft proved abortive.
He said: “An attempt was made between 1998 and year 2000 to conduct periodic depot maintenance on 2 X C 130H aircraft, NAF910 and NAF912, sadly the programme ended in a fiasco and the two aircrafts have remained grounded from that time till date, spanning a period of almost two decades.
“Undaunted by this nasty experience, the current NAF administration under the leadership of Air Marshal Abubakar has intensified efforts, since 2015, to conduct in-depth maintenance of NAF platforms including the C-130H fleet in Nigeria.”