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NAF, Czech Air Force strengthen strategic partnership

NAF, Czech Air Force strengthen strategic partnership

By Lawrence Audu

The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, has reiterated the need to strengthen strategic partnerships with other Air Forces as a way of providing the pathway to an enduring and comprehensive solution towards addressing the challenges encountered in pilot training.

The CAS made this known when he met with the Commander of Czech Air Force, Major General Petr Cepelka on the sideline of the Future Air Force 2023 Conference currently ongoing in Praque, Czech Republic.

Air Marshal Abubakar stated this just as he noted that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is poised to strengthen its strategic partnership with the Czech Air Force in the areas of technological transfer, capacity building as well and research and development.

The partnership, according to him, will enhance the proficiency of the NAF maintenance crew to be able to undertake some major maintenance works in-country, thereby reducing aircraft downtime, while improving air operations.

Speaking further, Air Marshal Abubakar sought the cooperation and collaboration of the Czech Air Force in the areas of counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, and pilot training.

While acknowledging the support the NAF has received from the Czech Air Force since the initial purchase of the L-39 aircraft in 1986, the CAS disclosed that the NAF has continued to maintain an active relationship with the Czech Air Force.

He recalled that the NAF has in the past collaborated with the Czech Air Force on pilot training on   L-39Z aircraft simulator, altitude chamber, and spatial disorientation training for several NAF pilots across different platforms, which have positively impacted on NAF’s fighting capabilities.

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Responding, the Czech Chief of Air Staff, Major General Petr Cepelka thanked Air Marshal Abubakar for sustaining the long history of mutual relationship that has existed between the NAF and the Czech Air Force.

He then assured him of the Czech Air Force support in the areas of aircraft acquisition, maintenance, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operations, and training of NAF Special Forces.

In his paper delivered at the Conference titled “Pilot Training in the Nigerian Air Force – An Assessment”, Air Marshal Abubakar noted that the development and employment of air power capabilities are increasingly becoming critical to the dynamic security environment where threats originate from both state and non-state actors.

He went further to state that the constitutional role of the NAF in tackling Nigeria’s security challenges in concert with other security Services, demands constant generation, delivery, and sustenance of a diverse range of credible air power capabilities as well as a vastly agile and resilient air force.

This, he noted, is predicated on the crucial need for the NAF to have the necessary human capacity for mission accomplishment, hence the need to ensure that the NAF trains its pilots to the highest professional standards for effective air power delivery.

He however observed that undertaking these training tasks in a climate of high operational tempo, harsh economic realities, and limited technological expertise presents its own challenges which are key considerations as the NAF considers preparing its pilots for current and future operations.

Air Marshal Abubakar also held a meeting with officials of Aero Vodochody, who are the Original Equipment Manufacturers of the NAF L-39Z aircraft, where issues related to scheduling and timing of overhaul and avionics upgrade of 3 NAF L-39Z were discussed, among others.

This Conference is the inaugural edition of the Future Air Force Conference to be held in Praque, Czech Republic, with the theme, “Challenges of Modern Air Force Training Solutions”.

The well attended Conference had in attendance over 100 officials from 29 countries.

Representatives of aviation-related industries including Lockheed Martins, Aero Vodochody, SAAB, and OMNIPOL were also in attendance to acquaint the participants with new trends in technologies in defense and security.

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