NAF conducts joint combat search on Kaduna-Abuja highway

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Nigerian Airforce chief Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, briefing journalists on the operation in The Gambia

Nigerian Airforce chief Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar,

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) conducted a Joint Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Special Forces (SF) and Air Police K-9 Simulation Exercise (JCSAEX) at Rijana Village along the Kaduna-Abuja highway.

The Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF headquarters, AVM Ibikunle Daramola, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.

The Exercise, code-named “TAIMAKO YAZO”, was aimed at simulating tactics, doctrine and synergy amongst first responders for effective CSAR operations of downed aircrew or other NAF personnel who were to abandon their aircraft in emergency situations.

According to him, the ability to rescue crew from hostile environments is particularly important as it can be adapted for anti-kidnapping operations as was recently done by NAF.

This, he said, was done in concert with other security agencies in the rescue of the kidnapped boys of Government Science Secondary School Kankara, Katsina State.

The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, stated that the overall desire of NAF was to ensure that personnel were trained and equipped to maintain very high levels of combat readiness and operational effectiveness.

“This is In a bid to better reposition NAF SF through robust capacity building for more effective response to the various security challenges bedeviling the country.

“Especially in the areas of counter-terrorism, airport security and anti-banditry operations, NAF in 2019 conducted several counter-terrorism exercises in Kaduna, Kano, Niger and Osun,” he said.

The CAS noted that the importance of training to a fighting force like NAF cannot be over emphasised as regular purposeful training remained the cornerstone of military combat readiness.

“It is in realisation of this that NAF ensures that its personnel are mentally alert and physically fit at all times, through regular training and exercises so we remain continually willing, able and ready to defend the nation.”

Abubakar also noted that through today’s modern weapons systems, it is the personnel with competence that would make the difference in any current or future conflict situations.

This philosophy, he said, had been incorporated into NAF policies and regulations so that every personnel maintains a high level of combat readiness to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in conducting wide spectrum of military operations.

CAS highlighted that the quest to achieve professionalism, service members were subjected to excruciatingly difficult training procedures and exposed to various terrain conditions to enable them develop and sustain a high level of combat effectiveness.

“This, no doubt, will help our personnel perform at the highest standards throughout their career,” he said.

Abubakar further remarked that the timing for the conduct of the exercise was apt as it readily tests the combat and physical readiness of NAF personnel to face the very difficult security challenges currently confronting the Nation.

He expressed satisfaction with the exercise, noting that the resources being expended on a daily basis to ensure that NAF personnel acquired requisite skills and training needed to conduct operations successfully were yielding tangible results.

“I’m highly impressed with the exercise in terms of coordination between the air and ground elements. Security is not only about bullets, bombs and rockets, it is about everybody putting hands on deck to ensure that the country is secured.

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“This exercise will be a continuous one, we have done one here. From now to June, we will have six of these exercises.

“Most of these exercises will now move to the North-West, particularly in Zamfara and Katsina states.

“We are also about to activate a NAF Unit in Funtua to further reduce our response time and bring security even closer to the people,” CAS said.

Abubakar expressed his profound gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for his unflinching support to the growth and development of NAF.

He also thanked members of the National Assembly (NASS) and the Minister of Defence, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), and other service Chiefs for their continued support to the service.

CAS, however, reassured Nigerians that NAF remained fully committed to the successful execution of its constitutional roles and would continue to meet its statutory responsibility of defending the territorial integrity and national sovereignty.

He noted that conducting the exercise along Kaduna-Abuja Highway, would impact positively and deter criminals from coming out to attack innocent citizens.

Earlier, the Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Special Operations Command (SOC), AVM Charles Ohwo, said the exercise was in line with CAS’ deliberate efforts to boost human capacity development through robust and result oriented training for enhanced professional performance.

Ohwo noted that the exercise would enhance NAF’s combat efficiency, borne from the right combinations of man and machine integration as well as effective methods, tactics and doctrine.

Highlights of the exercise include: the operational briefing and giving of orders by the Commander 013 Quick Response Force, Sqn. Ldr. Victor Uba, along with his sub-unit and component commanders, held behind closed doors.

This was immediately followed by seamless execution of the operational plan, which featured live firing of canons and rockets from NAF fixed and rotary wing attack aircraft.

The exercise was also followed by insertion of CSAR operatives as well as fast-roping and rappelling of NAF SF (the PANTHERS) and K-9 elements and movement of teams to the objective area.

There was also logistics re-supply of ammunition to the assaulting forces by tactical air-drop from a helicopter and subsequent rescue of the downed pilots in hostile environment, as well as extraction the assault team by air while being provided with close air support by an attack helicopter overhead the objective area.

The dignitaries at the occasion included senior officers from the NAF Headquarters, General Officer Commanding 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Air Officers Commanding, Commandant Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji.

Others were the Deputy Commandant, Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Commanders of NAF units and the Community Leader of Rijana, Dagacin Rijana, Fadan Achi, Mr Ayuba Dodo Dakolo, among other military officers.