The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has held a retreat on Base Defence Planning. The retreat took place from 25-26 May 2017 at the recently commissioned Ibrahim Alfa Auditorium in the Air Force Institute of Technology Kaduna.
The retreat was aimed at further educating relevant stakeholders on the new NAF base defence concept, which is premised on the development and deployment of an air-minded ground defence force, trained and equipped as special light infantry and capable of operating both inside and outside the base perimeter against contemporary threats while leveraging on intelligence and available modern technology.
Consequently, participants at the retreat included base commanders, regiment officers, intelligence officers, air provost officer, all of who have specific roles to play in securing and defending NAF bases.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who was the Special Guest of Honour at the retreat, reminded participants that despite its potency, airpower still has limitations, one of which is the issue of security of bases.
According to him, “Given the importance of bases in the airpower delivery matrix, it is not inconceivable to expect our adversaries to target our bases. As a matter of fact, we have had an attack on one of our airbases in the recent past, and current intelligence reports keep highlighting the possibility of attacks on our bases.
All these reinforce the need to emplace a robust base defence concept that is capable of providing guidance for responding to a wide range of situations that may threaten our bases.”
It would be recalled that the emphasis of the former base defence concept in the NAF was the emplacement of static guards at identified key and vulnerable points.
The current NAF leadership, however, viewed the concept as being no longer tenable and thus introduced the more robust base defence concept into the Service in 2016. Nevertheless, recent evaluations of the Bases revealed that many commanders and bases were yet to imbibe and adopt the tenets of the new base defence concept.
The retreat therefore afforded participants the opportunity to rub minds and exchange ideas and experiences towards engendering effective implementation of the new concept across the NAF. With the conclusion of the retreat, NAF bases are expected to be safer, more secured and more capable of repelling any attack directed at them.
In a related development, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar commissioned the newly built Regiment Training Centre as well as an electronic shooting range, both in Kaduna, on 25 May 2017.
An interesting development was the naming of the Regiment Training Centre and the electronic range after late Air Commodore Anthony Ikhazoboh and late Group Captain Williams Pratt respectively. Both retired senior officers, now dead, contributed significantly to NAF base defence, while in service and it was considered most befitting to honour them, as a way of encouraging those alive.
The Regiment Training Centre, which has the capacity to accommodate 300 trainees at a go, and the Electronic Range were constructed to further develop the capacity of personnel for base defence.