By Precious Igbonwelundu
Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has deployed its second in-country reactivated C-130H aircraft (NAF 913) to the Northeast to battle insurgency.
The aircraft, which was reintegrated into the country’s air fleet on Wednesday after 32 weeks Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) undertook by joint team of NAF personnel and a Pakistani firm, would be used to move personnel, equipment and other necessities to the battle fronts.
The Nation reports that the first successful PDM of a C-130-H class aircraft (NAF 917) was executed last July and the plan has been useful in the supply of relief materials, movement of troops and weapons across troubled areas in the country.
Outlining the importance of the in-country PDM, Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar said the country was saved millions in foreign exchange, adding that the capacity of the service’s men in C130-H maintenance enhanced.
Abubakar said the aircraft is critical to NAF’s battles against insurgency.
The CAS assured Nigerians that it would boost current fight to keep the country safe from terrorists.
“This aircraft is very critical to what we are doing and we are very excited that we are able to handle a major maintenance, such as the PDM.
“This is the second C-130. We are able to conduct PDM locally here in Ikeja, and our desire is that we are able to conduct the third one, which is NAF-918. I believe it is possible with the level of training our men have received and the various external teams who were involved in the PDM.
“It is very clear to us that we are building the required capacity and Nigerians are now going to be fully involved in this maintenance. It took us nine months to conduct this exercise. If we were to conduct the PDM outside (the country), it would have cost us a whole lot.
“What you have seen today is value addition. The fact that this aircraft is now serviceable means it is going to add value to what we are doing. I want to assure Nigerians that we will continue to work round the clock to ensure that Nigeria is safe and secured.”