$1bn military helicopters: US trainers to spend two years in Nigeria, security experts hail move

The USA Authorities has mentioned the implementation of its proposed sale of 12 AH-1Z Cobra assault helicopters to Nigeria would require the deployment of three of its representatives or these of the contractors to reside within the nation for 2 years for the needs of coaching and logistics.

The US Defence Safety Cooperation Company, on Thursday, mentioned in a press release on its web site titled, ‘Nigeria – AH-1Z Assault Helicopter Associated FMS Acquisitions’, that the discover of the potential sale was required by legislation and that Congress had been notified of the attainable transaction.

It mentioned the State Division had “made a willpower approving a attainable international army sale to the Authorities of Nigeria of AH-1Z assault helicopter associated FMS acquisitions and associated tools for an estimated value of $997m.”

The assertion named the principal contractors as Bell Helicopter, Textron, Fort Price, TX; and Common Electrical Firm, Lynn, MA, saying the proposed sale would higher equip Nigeria to contribute to shared safety aims, promote regional stability and construct interoperability with the US and different western companions.

On the necessity to deploy representatives of both the US authorities or the contractors in Nigeria, the assertion partly learn, “Implementation of this proposed sale would require the project of US Authorities or contractor representatives to Nigeria for cell coaching groups and contract logistics help.

“The case will embody particular coaching on the legislation of armed battle and human rights, and air-to-ground integration to minimise civilian hurt in air operations. This proposed sale may even require a number of journeys by US Authorities and contractor representatives to take part in programme and technical evaluations plus coaching and upkeep help within the nation, on a brief foundation, for a interval of 5 years.

“It is going to additionally require roughly three contractor help representatives to reside within the nation for a interval of two years to help this programme.”

In the meantime, the assertion identified that the price of the tools may finally scale back, relying on sure variables, including, “The outline and greenback worth is for the best estimated amount and greenback worth based mostly on preliminary necessities. Precise greenback worth will likely be decrease relying on ultimate necessities, finances authority, and signed gross sales settlement(s), if and when concluded.”

Safety consultants hail transfer

Some safety consultants, who spoke with Saturday PUNCH on Friday, hailed the proposed acquisition, saying it may very well be a game-changer within the onslaught in opposition to terrorists. They mentioned it could additionally improve the potential of the army to deal decisively with the bandits-turned-terrorists, particularly because the authorities appeared unwilling to deploy the Tremendous Tucano jets in opposition to them.

In keeping with the Protection Safety Cooperation Company, the sale consists of the Bell-made Cobras; 28 Common Electrical-made T700-401C engines (24 put in, 4 spares); 2,000 Superior Precision Kill Weapon System used to transform unguided missiles into precision-guided missiles; M197 20mm machine gun; Night time Imaginative and prescient Cueing Show; industrial variant GPS with Customary Positioning Service; communication tools; digital warfare methods; AN/AVS-9 Aviator’s Night time Imaginative and prescient Imaging System and concentrating on and navigation methods. It additionally consists of $25m for institutional and technical help to the Nigerian Armed Forces.

Stories had indicated that the US State Division accredited the sale of army {hardware} to Nigeria after lawmakers lifted their objections over human rights considerations.

An intelligence and safety threat administration marketing consultant, Kabir Adamu, famous that the character of the menace parts in Nigeria required air functionality that was ultimate for city warfare and precision-style interdiction assaults.

“These two necessities will be met by fight helicopters. That is along with assembly the requirement for fast response as a part of a light-weight drive functionality that every one trendy army and safety forces ought to have. I, subsequently, welcome this acquisition and see it as a attainable game-changer within the present battle dynamics within the nation,” he acknowledged.

Adamu famous that drones can be a great addition to the army arsenal, each for intelligence gathering and the very fact that there have been a number of theatres of battle the army was engaged in.

A former Director of the Division of State Companies, Mike Ejiofor, mentioned the assault choppers have been good, however they should be put into efficient use, particularly within the North-West and North-Central, the place there had been large kidnappings and killings because the terrorists relocated from the North-East.

He added, “Who is aware of when it’s coming? If it’s one thing that’s prepared for supply quickly, it’s positive. However the query is; the place are the Tucano jets we purchased earlier? Nevertheless, they need to assist us in working these platforms. We additionally want efficient drones.

“The best problem we’ve is that we are able to’t rapidly find them (terrorists) when they’re coming; the Air Drive may bomb them on their means, however that has not occurred. What they’ve been doing is to return inside an space view and inform us that a lot of individuals have been killed.”

The Chief Govt Officer, Agent X Safety Restricted, Timothy Avele, additionally mentioned the choppers and drones would assist in the combat in opposition to terrorism.

He mentioned, “It’s a great transfer. I’ll advise that they need to be used primarily as a fast response drive instantly. They need to be used particularly in Kaduna, Niger Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto states, and different rising risky zones. It must be famous that, for higher outcomes, lengthy endurance, all-weather drones for twenty-four/7 aerial surveillance and monitoring should be used to enrich these helicopters and naturally, human intelligence is critical too.”

A retired US Military Captain and safety marketing consultant, Bishop Johnson, mentioned the Nigeria Air Drive should be cautious with the deployment of the assault helicopters to minimise collateral harm.

He acknowledged, “With these sorts of army packages from the USA, they’re normally very particular on how this tools, particularly plane, must be deployed. Crucial issue they normally contemplate is that the plane just isn’t used in opposition to harmless Nigerians and isn’t used to commit human rights violations.

“Aside from that, I feel they need to be deployed the place essential and the place they will add worth to the Nigerian Air Drive to sort out the safety challenges Nigeria is dealing with proper now.”

He mentioned the Air Drive had in current occasions been extra cautious to not kill harmless individuals, noting that the deployment would usually be based mostly on operations and intelligence obtained.

One other safety skilled, Oladele Fajana, urged the army to make sure that the rights of individuals weren’t violated and that harmless individuals weren’t killed.

“With out eliminating these terrorists, Nigeria won’t have peace; so, if these issues will be hastened and delivered to Nigeria, they need to be deployed instantly, as a result of this warfare just isn’t a standard one. The enemies are inside. The safety personnel alone can now not combat this warfare. We want know-how. If deployed, they’re going to assist,” he acknowledged.

Additionally, a safety marketing consultant, Mr Yemi Adeyemi, mentioned the army would want to train care in the best way it handles the fighter helicopters once they lastly arrive in Nigeria. “The Air Drive must be cautious so that they don’t hurt harmless lives. It’s a delicate matter, which is why they need to at all times be skilled and retrained on sort out this warfare,” he added.

Nevertheless, a Fellow of the Worldwide Institute of Skilled Safety and licensed golden member of the Worldwide Safety Affiliation, Switzerland, Jackson Olalekan-Ojo, mentioned all the federal government wanted was the political will to flush out terrorists from Nigeria and never the acquisition of fighter helicopters.

He acknowledged, “It is a colossal waste of our sources as a result of it doesn’t matter the type of arms and ammunition you import into this nation; a very powerful factor is the willpower to combat these insurgents. If they carry these fighter helicopters into this nation, they nonetheless want the instruction of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Buhari, to deploy them.

“If there isn’t any political will, they may deliver within the helicopters and dump them in one of many Air Drive bases. It’s a strategy to siphon cash to run the elections. Why are they severe about getting these helicopters now? It’s a technique to embezzle cash, as a result of they know it’s within the defence sector that nobody probes their funds.”

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