Nigerian Army Launches Two Helicopters

By Nokai Origin, Abuja 

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The Nigerian Army has taken delivery of its first batch of platforms in the journey of operationalizing the Nigerian Army Aviation vision conceived 10 years ago with two helicopters launched by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja. 
 
The Bell UH1 helicopters were received at the Nigerian Police Airwing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, Nigeria’s Capital on Thursday, 20th June 2024. 
 
Speaking at the event, the Chief of Army Staff recalled that the renewed drive to have a Nigerian Army aviation wing started when the former COAS, Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah (rtd), established and Operationalized the Nigerian Army Aviation Coordination Office in 2014 with a 10-year implementation plan segmented into 3 phases. 
 
“Our journey to realizing our dream of NA aviation has come to reality today, and we must give credit to those who dare to dream and conceptualize this journey. I am glad that, as conceptualized, 10 years later, we have today taken delivery of our first set of platforms. 

General Lagbaja acknowledged the pursuit of the dream by all the past Chiefs that came after General Minimah, including Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, Lieutenant General Attahiru, and Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya for their tenacity, drive, and the collective effort of the military personnel and government officials that have proven to be instrumental in the journey of realising the Army Aviation. 
 
The journey, as predicted by the initial dreamers, has not been easy, but here we are today by the grace of God, realizing our dream. 
 
He appreciated the past administrations from 2014 for their support in training the pilots and ground crews and putting in place necessary structures over the years as well as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, for fulfilling his promise to fund the acquisition of the platforms and providing the necessary funding to realise the Army Aviation dream. 
 
General Lagbaja acknowledged that the Nigerian Army is in the business as a newcomer, while acknowledging the forerunners like the NAF, Nigerian Navy, and the Nigerian Police Force. 
 
The Coordinator of Nigerian Army Aviation, Brigadier General Shehu Musa Alkhali, described the arrival of the Nigerian ARMY Vanguard Air platforms as a significant milestone in the NA’s ongoing efforts to enhance the operational capabilities of the Nigerian Army Aviation.

According to General Alkhali, the introduction of the advanced air platforms marks a new chapter in the operational readiness and ability of the Army to respond swiftly and effectively to diverse security challenges.  
“These platforms are not just an addition to our fleet, but a leap forward in our quest for excellence and efficiency towards getting NA aviation operational. The acquisition of these air platforms is a clear demonstration of our resolve to continuously improve and adapt in the face of evolving security landscapes. These platforms will significantly bolster the NA’s reconnaissance, surveillance, and air mobility capabilities, thereby enhancing our overall operational effectiveness. 
 
“Our journey to this point has been defined by rigorous planning, meticulous execution, and the unwavering support of the NA leadership and partners. I would like to acknowledge the tireless efforts of all those involved in this project, from our well-respected Consultant, Maj Gen Emeka O. rtd, and strategic planners as well as international partners.
 
 
Earlier, the Consultant for the Nigerian Army Aviation, Major General Emeka O. retired appreciated the sustained vision over the years that saw to the birthing of the Nigerian Army aviation. 
 
Present at the event were Principal Staff Officers from the Army Headquarters, officers from the Nigerian Police, and other stakeholders in the aviation business 

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