The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Monday graduated another batch of Helicopter Backdoor Gunners (HBDG) comprising 12 Nigerian Army (NA) and 19 NAF personnel to enhance synergy between the Services and other security agencies in the fight against insurgency.
Confirming the report, Director of Public Relations and Information Nigerian Air Force Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola said the graduation of HBDG Course at the Commando Village of the Regiment Training Centre (RTC), NAF Base Kaduna, would facilitate effective air-ground integration that would improve the freedom of action of surface forces at all echelons during combat operations.
He said in the course of the 5-week intensive training, the students received tutorials on tactics, techniques and procedures for providing insertion and reinforcement capabilities as well as Close Air Support to ground troops during battle.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, represented by the NAF Chief of Training and Operations, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) James Gwani, stated that the training was necessitated by the fluid nature of the contemporary security challenges facing the Nation.
He noted that the use of rotary-wing platforms had become imperative for Close Air Support, as experience over time has shown that rotary-wing platforms are the best suited to the battle space against insurgents, terrorists and other non-conventional forces.
He added that, in line with his vision of transforming the NAF into a highly professional and disciplined force through capacity building initiatives, the NAF had taken deliberate steps to build the capacity of its Regiment personnel to the skill level required to protect bases and assets as well as support NAF engagements across the Country. According to him, “the NAF subsequently embarked on training of over 4,000 personnel, both overseas and locally, in order to build adequate capacity in response to national security imperatives. This initiative has ensured that our Bases are well secured thereby providing the necessary platform to guarantee mission success”, the CAS said.
Air Marshal Abubakar equally highlighted that the incorporation of the 12 NA personnel on the HBDG 6/2020 was done in the spirit of inter-Service cooperation as well as to ensure synergy for enhanced effectiveness and efficiency in the conduct of joint operations.
The CAS urged them to imbibe the attributes and core values of the NAF of excellence, honour, honesty, courage, humility, perseverance and adaptability during operations and in their various fields of specialization to ensure success. He noted that the Course was deliberately made to be both physically and mentally demanding to prepare them for the tough challenges ahead. “Your commitment and determination during your training has distinguished you and made you all to earn a place among the elite teams in your respective Services”, he added.
Air Marshal Abubakar expressed gratitude to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammed Buhari, for the priority attention given to the training, operational and other requirements of the Service, noting that the support provided by the Federal Government had positively impacted on the NAF’s operational efficiency and had enabled the provision of improved welfare services to personnel. He equally commended the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Ground Training Command (GTC) as well as the Commandant and staff of the RTC for their dedication in ensuring the training of combat-ready personnel for the Service.