The Nigerian Air Force, NAF, has inducted Flying Officer Salihu Usman into service as the country’s 91st combat pilot.
The induction ceremony, known as winging in the Air Force, was conducted by Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the Chief of the Air Staff, according to a statement by Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information on Wednesday in Abuja.
The statement said the newly winged pilot was admitted into the Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, in August 2010 as a member of 62nd Regular Combatant Course, where he obtained a degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering. He recently completed a Basic Fighter Introduction Course in the United States.
Usman, the statement noted, becomes the 91st pilot winged pilots in three years, adding that he is one of the several Air Force personnel who is being trained both locally and internationally to improve the capacity of the force.
“The Chief of the Air Staff’s quest to re-professionalise the Nigerian Air Force through capacity building initiatives have received a further boost with the winging of another young NAF combat pilot, Flying Officer Salihu Usman.
“This is besides the 67 NAF officers who are currently undergoing flying training in various flying institutions both within and outside the country.
“It is, therefore, expected that by this time next year, the total number of new pilots would reach an unprecedented 158 in just 4 years”, the statement read.
Daramola also disclosed that a female student pilot, the first in the service’s history, is currently undergoing a Specialised Undergraduate Pilot Training in the US.
The statement also revealed that another student pilot fighter undergoing helicopter training in South Africa to become the first female helicopter pilot in the NAF.