Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Aviation Psychological Practice in the Nigerian Air Force: Challenges and Prospects

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Aviation Psychological Practice in the Nigerian Air Force: Challenges and Prospects

Article excerpt

Introduction

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) was established by a statutory Act of Parliament in April 1964, to serve four main purposes namely:

* achieve a full complement of the military defence system of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the air and on ground.

* ensure a fast versatile mobility of the armed forces.

* provide close support for the groundbased and sea-borne forces in all phases of operations and to ensure the territorial integrity of a United Nigeria.

* give the country the deserved prestige which is invaluable in international matters.

The Air Force Act of 1964 further specifies the roles of the NAF as follows: "The Air Force shall be charged with the defence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by air; and to give effect thereto, the Air Force shall be trained in such duties as well in the air as on the ground."

When translated in practical terms within the national defence policy objective of building a strong and self-reliant Armed Forces therefore, NAF is to defend Nigeria's interest and integrity of the national airspace by performing air operations such as - interdiction, air defence, counter airstrike, air transport and close air support flight operations i.e. search and rescue flights, reconnaissance and aerial mapping flights. NAF Mission Statement is as follows:

To train and maintain a highly professional, versatile and combatready Air Force that would effectively exert timely and optimum weight of response in peace or war time singly or in unison with surface forces, for the preservation of the territorial integrity of a united Nigeria or in pursuit of Nigeria S local and foreign interest.

In order to effectively achieve the mission statement and assigned roles, NAF had over the years acquired various technologically sophisticated aircraft and weapons systems. There are now various aircraft types in operation in NAF to perform different roles. These consist of Air Defence, Air Strike, Ground Attack, Transport, Trainer and Maritime Surveillance Aircraft. However, recent events around the globe and particularly across our immediate borders compel one to stress that there is room for some improvement in the acquisition of some more sophisticated military aircraft in order to keep pace with technological development in the changing pattern of warfare. It is also pertinent to state here that if adequate funds are made available to service and maintain the present fleet, the Nigerian Air Force should be able to react effectively and with maximum deterrent consequences against any hostile enemy activities.

Along with the acquisition of aircraft, is the important issue of the training of Air Force personnel to man these aircraft and the weapon systems. Right from the inception of NAF, great importance had been attached to the personnel training in all aspects of the aircraft industry. Whilst the acquisition of aircraft and corresponding weapons systems are essential for a modern Air Force establishment, it is equally important to learn the effective methods of conducting modern warfare through realistic training and the development of tactics that may be required for the full exploitation of available air power resources.

Conscious of the importance of training, the Nigerian Air Force has established a number of training institutions locally for the training of its personnel. The products of the local institutions are supplemented by sending some of the outstanding officers for training in standard and creditable overseas institutions. Furthermore, because overseas training can be very expensive and involves a huge consumption of scarce foreign exchange, there is now a deliberate policy in NAF to shift training emphasis towards the "Training of Trainers" scheme. This policy has enabled NAF to carry out the training of its personnel locally by using indigenous officers who have received adequate training in their field of speciality. With regards to the organizational concept, this had also been fashioned to meet the current requirements of the Nigerian Air Force. …

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