Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday commissioned five new Super Mushak trainer aircraft recently acquired from Pakistan by the Nigerian Air Force for the training of personnel and also for counterinsurgency operations.
Osinbajo was represented at the launch ceremony of the aircraft and graduation of 16 pilots held at the Airforce base in Kaduna State by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, who said it was important for the country to explore all options in combating its security challenges.
He noted that the country must take advantage of technological breakthroughs in various sectors.
The Super Mushak plane, historically used as a training aircraft, has been integrated with a new glass cockpit and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities by fitting the aircraft with electro-optic/infrared sensor turrets and an L3 Wescam MX-10 surveillance device.
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The aircraft has a service ceiling of 22,000 feet, and a maximum speed of 268km/h.
Five of it arrived Nigeria from Pakistan on July 14, 2017, and have been test-flown to ensure that their performance met desired specifications.
Air Force authorities disclosed that additional five of such aircraft will arrive Nigeria before the end of the year.
The commissioning of the planes by the acting president marked their formal induction for military training and counterinsurgency operations.
Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, expressed his belief that the new acquisitions will strengthen the air force in its effort to combat Boko Hoaram.
Commenting on the rising cases of suicide bombings by the Boko Haram group in the north east, he said that having the best training combined with supporting equipment wass the only way the Nigerian military could win the war against insurgency and other related crimes across the country.
On his part, Dan-Ali stated that the recent rise in suicide bombing attacks was a sign of weakness and cowardice, insisting that the military was winning the war against terror.
About 16 cadets of the Nigerian Defence Academy were graduated from the Airforce Flying Training School as pilots.
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