Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Wednesday took delivery of the last 2 sets of four Diamond 62 multi-purpose platform special mission aircraft to the 303 Medium Aircraft Group in Ilorin, amid optimism that the aircraft will strengthen the country’s surveillance and search-and-rescue capabilities.
The Governor said the presence of the Nigerian Air Force and other sister security agencies in the state has helped to sustain the peace and secure Kwara state.
“These sophisticated aircrafts could not have come at a more auspicious time as the Nigerian Air Force maintains its robust presence in all theatres of operation across the country,” AbdulRazaq said in Ilorin at the event.
The Diamond-62 multi-purpose platform aircraft had been inducted into the Nigerian Air Force Inventory in May 2023 during the 59th Anniversary of the Nigerian Air Force Day Celebration which took place in Enugu.
The Governor congratulated the Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Hassan Bala Abubakar on the successful delivery and reception of the aircrafts which AbdulRazaq said would be a “game changer” as they serve to unmask the hideouts of criminal elements within and outside Kwara.
“I believe this aircraft will strengthen the surveillance and search-and-rescue capability of the Nigerian nation, including in Kwara State. It will also boost internal security operations, especially the indigenous operation HARMONY. I am confident that these air assets will also serve to haunt down all criminal elements wherever they may want to hide,” he added.
The Governor commended the efforts of the Commander 303 Medium Airlift Group (MAG), Captain Dan Apyeyak, who “has actively been supporting the efforts of the State Government to keep the peace and secure the State since his assumption of office as the Commander in June this year”.
The event was attended by the Air Officer Commanding Mobility Command Air Vice Marshal Tajudeen Yusuf; Commander 303 Medium Airlift Group (MAG) Captain Dan Apyeyak; Commissioner of Police Victor Olaiya; and some heads of other security agencies
Air Marshal Abubakar, for his part, said the additional Diamond 62 aircraft delivered to 303 Medium Aircraft Group in Ilorin will be deployed to operational areas where they are most needed in any part of the country.
“I am delighted to inform you that the 2 Diamond 62 aircraft earlier delivered were deployed to Op HADARIN DAJI and Op HADIN KAI in the North-East and North-West respectively, and have greatly enhanced the effectiveness of our land, sea and air operations in these areas,” he said.
He said the federal government is set to acquire additional combat platforms for the Force.
The security chief urged all personnel handling the platform to handle them properly and continue to operate in line with the recommended practices of the Original Equipment Manufacturer.
He also implored the air officers to leverage the capabilities available on these ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) platforms to enhance operational efficiency for successful internal security operations.
The Officer Commanding Mobility Command, Air Vice Marshal Tajudeen Yusuf, said the NAF acquired the Diamond 62 Multi-Purpose Platform mainly to strengthen the aircraft’s capability to carry out robust ISR missions during combat operations.
“The Diamond DA62 is a five-to seven-seat, twin-engine light multipurpose aircraft produced by Messrs Diamond Aircraft Industries of Austria. The Diamond 62 aircraft can be used for pilot training and light liaison missions. It can also be configured for manned Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions,” he said.