The Nigerian Air Force has acquired 2 additional helicopters as part of the efforts to boost its fleet and operational capability. The Agusta Westland 101 helicopters were donated to the NAF by the Presidency as part of the on-going effort by the Federal Government to reduce the cost of governance, including the running of the Presidential Air Fleet. The executive helicopters are designed for VIP transportation and are equipped with ballistic defence capabilities and defensive aid suites.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj Gen Babagana Monguno (retired) handed over the helicopters to the NAF at a ceremony held in Abuja. Speaking at the occasion, the NSA stated that Mr President approved the release of the versatile platforms meant for his comfort to enhance the airlift capacity of the NAF to strengthen the efforts of the on-going campaign against insurgency in different parts of the country. With respect to the significance of the event, the Honourable Minister of Defence, Muhammad Mansur Dan-Ali, while receiving the helicopters on behalf of the NAF, noted that the coming of the helicopters would help to foster the war against terrorism, insurgency and other forms of criminalities across the nation.
The helicopters, according to the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Mshl Sadique Abubakar, would be reconfigured for tactical airlift of troops and logistics in support of combat operations. The CAS, in his acceptance speech, stated that the NAF has contacted the manufacturer of the helicopter and plans have been put in place to reconfigure one of the helicopters as air ambulance, and the other as a troop carrier.
It would be recalled that the Presidency in 2015 had earlier released one Agusta Westland 109 helicopter and one King Air Beechcraft aircraft to the NAF as part of the effort to downsize the Presidential Air Fleet. Furthermore, the FG is at the verge of selling one Falcon 7X and Hawker 4000 aircraft.