By ODIMMEGWA JOHNPETER, Abuja
The Commander of the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF), Major General Yousef Al-Hnaity, has commended the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) operational procedure, saying that it was obvious that the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, had done a lot to raise the operating standards of the NAF.
He expressed those views after visiting NAF operational units in Yola and Maiduguri on 26 September 2017, in continuation of his working visit to the NAF. Major General Al-Hnaity witnessed, firsthand, the NAF operational procedure, including briefing of pilots, prior to one of the missions in furtherance of the ongoing Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency (COIN) operations in the Northeast.
The top Jordanian military chief, a fighter pilot himself, subsequently interacted with the pilots who took the missions as well as other NAF frontline pilots. He observed that the system put in place by the NAF for mission planning, air intelligence acquisition, imagery analysis as well as command and control, in addition to the apparent dedication of NAF pilots and ground crew, demonstrated the strong commitment of the NAF to fight terrorism and save Nigeria. He also expressed pleasant surprise after inspecting the modern facilities at the NAF Medical Centre in Maiduguri, including the Cancer Screening Centre, with which the NAF had been providing free medical care to Internally Displaced Persons and other locals. He then restated his country’s readiness to support the NAF in every way possible.
Earlier in his remarks, the CAS, who accompanied Major General Al-Hnaity on the visit to the Northeast, thanked the Jordanian delegation for finding time to visit the NAF frontline units. He particularly appreciated the Commander of the RJAF, for interacting and sharing experiences with the NAF pilots. In addition, he stated that he was enthusiastic about the promises that the visit held, especially in the area of capacity building for NAF personnel. He then again expressed the readiness of the NAF to share its experiences in Research and Development with the visiting Jordanian team. The Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Tactical Air Command of the NAF, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Mohammed Idris played host to the Jordanian Team while in the northeast. The Jordanian Air Force Commander and his delegation immediately departed for Lagos to visit selected NAF units while the CAS returned to Abuja.
In Lagos, Major General Al-Hnaity and his delegation paid a courtesy call on the AOC Logistics Command of the NAF, AVM Ibrahim Yahaya. The team also visited the 631 Aircraft Maintenance Depot and the 301 Heavy Airlift Group (HAG), which maintains and operates the NAF C-130H aircraft respectively. The Team equally visited the Rotary Wing, which operates and maintains the NAF Super Puma helicopter. It is worthy of note that the C-130H aircraft and the Super Puma helicopter play a crucial role in the prosecution of the ongoing operations in the Northeast. It is therefore gratifying to note that the Jordanian Team indicated its readiness to immediately initiate support for the operation and maintenance of both the C-130 aircraft and Super Puma helicopter since the 2 aircraft are also on the inventory of the RJAF. In addition, the Team expressed willingness to collaborate with the NAF in the area of capacity building for aircraft spares inventory management.
The Commander of the RJAF and his team proceeded from Lagos to Kaduna on 27 September 2017 and were received by very senior NAF officers. While in Kaduna, the Jordanian Team visited some of the NAF’s training institutions. The Team also undertook a visit to the Air Force Research and Development Centre, where it was briefed on some of the ongoing NAF Research and Development projects. Major General Al-Hnaity expressed his satisfaction with the depth of research works being undertaken by the NAF. He reiterated that technology was instrumental to prosecuting air warfare in modern times. He therefore stated his happiness that the NAF was taking giant strides towards technological advancements. He however remarked that the nation should be ready to invest sufficiently to consolidate on the steps being taken by the NAF. One thing that the NAF had going for it, according to Major General Al-Hnaity, was the obvious determination of the NAF leadership and personnel to overcome all odds.
Clearly, the visit by the Commander RJAF, Major General Al-Hnaity, was successful and it also revealed several areas of possible collaboration between the 2 services. The 2 parties have agreed to initiate steps towards implementing the identified areas of possible collaboration. Meanwhile, the top Jordanian military chief is scheduled to return to Jordan.