The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says it has acquire three new aircraft for maritime operations in the Niger Delta.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, disclosed this at the inauguration of a block of 30 one-bedroom living quarters and Computerized Tomography Scan facility for officers at the 115 Special Operations Group in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
He said the acquisition of three additional aircraft was part of the ongoing efforts by the Federal Government to re-equip and professionalise the air force.
“We are expecting three Special Mission Aircraft that will be based in Benin, Edo, but will be operating into Port Harcourt, among other areas in the maritime environment.
“So, for this to happen, we decided to provide accommodation for those that would maintain the aircrafts when they are deployed.
“The idea is to work ahead, so that at the time the aircraft are here, personnel should be able to come in and then maintain the aircraft,” he said.
The air force chief said the building of accommodation and welfare provision for personnel at 115 Special Operations Group was paramount due to its critical role to national security.
He said the base significant role as NAF’s ‘home of helicopter’ prompted the need to build a reference hospital to cater for health needs of personnel.
“The reference hospital has a dialysis machine (for kidney patients), and now, a CT scan machine, among other facilities for both our personnel and their family members.
“This ensures that personnel fighting in our theatres of operations are not distracted, knowing that the air force base has what it takes to care for his family,” he added.
On COVID-19 pandemic, Abubakar said the air force is currently producing about 1,000 litres of liquid oxygen daily from its oxygen plant in Yola, Adamawa.
He said that 50 per cent of excess oxygen produced at the plant is supplied to hospitals in Abuja and in neighbouring states to support the national effort to curb COVID-19.
“So, what we are doing is giving the excess oxygen to fill cylinders of all medical facilities that are willing to submit their cylinders.
“We have produced ventilators through research and development as well as opened a facility here in Port Harcourt that produces face masks and other Personal Protective Equipments.
“In addition, we have flown equipment and other medical facilities to 13 West African countries in support of the fight against the pandemic,” he pointed out.