Army reactivates air wing to bolster operations and alleviate pressure on NAF
To ease the burden on the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Lieutenant-General Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), has announced the reactivation of the Nigerian Army’s Air wing.
This momentous development was revealed during a lecture addressed to participants of Senior Course 46 at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC) in Jaji, Kaduna, on Tuesday.
Lt.-Gen. Lagbaja noted that this initiative would involve the acquisition of helicopters to support troops during patrols and operations, providing them with invaluable air support to gain a strategic advantage over adversaries.
By doing so, it is expected that the NAF can focus more on delivering high operational and strategic requirements, further enhancing the nation’s defense capabilities.
Furthermore, the COAS emphasised that the revitalised air wing would enable the Army to effectively address tactical requirements, including air interdictions. However, he made it clear that the Army and NAF would maintain a collaborative approach to address the ongoing security challenges facing the nation.
Explaining the rationale behind the decision, Lt.-Gen. Lagbaja noted that it is customary for the Army to have integral helicopter formations, while leaving strategic demands to the Air Force.
“When we acquire the helicopters and other platforms, what we intend to achieve is to have organic helicopter formations and units in the fields so that when troops are going for patrols, there is a helicopter overhead,” he stated.
These helicopters will play crucial roles in intelligence surveillance, reconnaissance reporting, and air interdiction. For large-scale strategic offensives, the NAF will still play a pivotal role.
Lt.-Gen. Lagbaja also shared his command philosophy during the lecture, noting the importance of transforming the Nigerian Army into a well-trained, equipped, and highly motivated force. This transformation is seen as essential to fulfill the Army’s constitutional responsibilities while working collaboratively with other services.
During the event, the COAS received a general salute at the AFCSC as he delivered his lecture on his command philosophy. The Commandant of AFCSC, Air Vice-Marshal Hassan Alhaji, expressed his gratitude to Lt.-Gen. Lagbaja for personally delivering the lecture, highlighting the significance of his ideas and thoughts in guiding the future direction of the Nigerian Army.
Alhaji encouraged the officers in attendance to adopt the leadership qualities championed by the COAS, believing that it would sharpen their command capabilities and enhance their effectiveness in carrying out assigned tasks.