The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and Nigerian Army (NA) on Wednesday inaugurated a training programme for 40 personnel as backdoor gunners, fast rope insertion and extraction system, as part of measures to tackle security challenges in the country.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) report that the Helicopter Backdoor Gunner Course six and the Fast Rope Insertion and Extraction System course was inaugurated by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar at Shittu Alao Auditorium, Regiment Training Centre Kaduna.
NAN reports that 20 NA and 20 NAF personnel are participating in the courses being conducted under the United States training assistance programmes.
The training was aimed at tutoring the students on tactics, techniques and procedures for providing Close Air Support to ground troops during battle.
Also, the combined training of the personnel would enhance synergy between sister services and other security agencies in the fight against insurgency.
Abubakar said: “We all know the contemporary security challenges we are witnessing necessitated the training of more personnel.
“In the spirit of brotherhood and ensuring synergy with sister Services, the Nigerian Air Force will also be training 20 Nigerian Army personnel as Back door gunners among the students, Course six will be inaugurated.”
The Air Chief, who was represented by Chief of Training and Operations AVM James Gawni, said the use of rotary platforms has become imperative for close air support as experience over time has shown that rotary platforms were well suited for the fluid nature of the battlespace against insurgents.
He stressed that his desire was to transform the Air Force into a highly professional and disciplined force through capacity building for effective, efficient and timely employment of airpower in response to national security imperatives.
“One of the key drivers of this vision hinges on human capacity initiatives for improved professional performance.”
Accordingly to him, NAF has increased the number of personnel recruited into the service while building the capabilities of the Air Force Regiment to its current levels, to man the units.
“Realising the need to have personnel with specialised training to meet specialised needs in force protection, the NAF subsequently trained over 4,000 personnel both overseas and locally to build up capacity in this regard.
“This initiative ensures that our bases are well secured thereby providing the necessary platform to guarantee mission success.
“Also, as part of the United States Government’s strategy to tackle terrorism, the Global War on Terror was embarked upon to rid troubled nations with such challenges.
“Consequently, the United States of America has activated many training assistance programmes within the country.
“One of which is the Fast Rope Insertion and Extraction System training, handled by Skybridge tactical, a United States company.
“This training is tailored towards training Regiment personnel to become Fast Rope Masters capable of inserting troops with the required skill to conduct resupply of combat requirements such as ammunition, ration, water, medical kit and clothing using the Low-Cost Low Altitude method.’’
He told the students of the Helicopter Backdoor Gunner Course six, and the Fast Rope Insertion and Extraction System Course two, that the courses require a lot of concentration and discipline.
“I, therefore, urge you to imbibe the attributes and core values of the Nigerian Air Force which include excellence, honesty, courage, perseverance and adaptability during the training to ensure success in your endeavours,’’ he said.
Earlier, the Air Officer Commanding Ground Training Command, AVM Idi Amin said the combined training of NA and NAF personnel would enhance synergy between sister Services and other security agencies in the fight against insurgency.
Amin said the course would incorporate drills in a complete array of both combat and non-combat actions in offensive and defensive operations, enabled by intelligence superiority.
“It will also be based upon effective defensive measure and security procedures including practical applications of the science of ballistics.”
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the CAS also inaugurated three blocks of classrooms, 400 capacity dining hall and 500 seat auditorium for the Regiment Training Centre.
He said one of the facilities would be named after one of the Instructors of the Regiment Training Centre who lost his life during training.
“In this vein, I find this occasion most important as immortalising personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty by naming important structures after them is the least we could do to honour their sacrifices to the nation,’’ he said.