Caverton Helicopters lands air force deal

The Nigerian Air Force has announced that it is going to partner with Caverton Helicopters for the maintenance of rotary-wing aircraft, as well as training of air crews.

Top-level visit: Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar visits Caverton’s MRO facility and aviation training centre in Lagos alongside other senior NAF officers. Picture: Caverton Helicopters.

The new agreement was signed on January 12 during a visit to Caverton’s site in Ikeja, Lagos, by the then Nigerian Air Force chief of air staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.

This was one of Abubakar’s last official acts before handing over the NAF’s reins, a couple of weeks later, to the new Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao.

The deal means that Caverton Helicopters will maintain the NAF’s fleets, including AW-139, AW-109 Power and Bell 412 helicopters.

Caverton Helicopters will also train NAF pilots, engineers and technicians, in line with the force’s push for skills transfer to support internal capacity development.

The first batch of NAF pilots and technicians were due to start training at the new level D simulator last month. Pilots will undergo type-rating, recurrence, as well as search-and-rescue (SAR) training, among other courses.

NAF director of public relations, Air Vice Marshall Ibinkule Daramola, said the partnership with Caverton would support the development of local content in science, engineering and technology.

“It [the agreement] is imperative, as part of our continued efforts to ensure adequate and increased serviceability of our aircraft to boost the tempo of air operations to tackle insurgent, banditry, and other forms of criminality in the country,” he said.

To keep the fleet operational and battle-ready, the NAF needs timely delivery of spare parts and maintenance services at reasonable costs.

Caverton Helicopters said it has a lot to offer to help the air force deliver national security and support development. The NAF is currently stretched with demand for aerial support for military operations against the Islamist Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east, pipeline vandalism in the south-west and armed cattle rustlers in the north-west.

Reported by Oscar Nkala.