WHY NIGERIA’S PRESIDENTIAL AIR FLEET NEEDS NEW AIRCRAFT TYPES

Why the PAF needs new aircraft types – Commander 

SOURCE: nigeria defence

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) Friday said it is set to receive the first set of the three new aircraft already ordered by The Presidency by the end of November 2010, explaining that it has become imperative to replace the over 20 years old aging aircraft in its inventory in order to avert the frequent multiple failure of aircraft components within its fleet. 

Under the plan, a G550 has been acquired to replace the about 20 year old Gulfstream IV; two Falcon 7X has been acquired to replace the 20 and 22 years-old Falcon 900Bs. The Hawker 4000XP is being tipped to replace the fourth aircraft, the HS.125-800B. While the G550 and the Falcon 7Xs are awaiting delivery, the process of acquiring the fourth aircraft is expected to be completed by early next year.

Commander of PAF, Air Commodore Adesola Amosu told the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar who was on his maiden visit to the unit that the problem of component and parts failure was the reason why President Goodluck Jonathan’s official aircraft – NAF 001 – developed problem after it taxied for takeoff at the Entebbe, Uganda international airport last July 28 after the 15th African Union conference late last July.

The PAF has a current strength of 268, made up of 52 officers, 192 airmen/airwomen and 24 civilians.

Air Marshal Umar, who spent 16 years of his career in the Nigerian Air Force in the Presidential Air Fleet had stated that “PAF is a very very important unit, not just to the Air Force but to the country as it is responsible for the safe passage of Mr President, the Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and other top officials of the Nigerian government. So, it is about time we replace them (aircraft). They have paid their dues. Twenty-two years is quite a long time. They deserve to rest. And the government deserve very very new airplanes that is comfortable and that enables them do their jobs.”

The fleet has a total of 10 aircraft, comprising of one Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) which is reserved for Mr President, a Gulfstream V (GV) reserved for the Vice President and another Gulfstream IV (GIV), two Falcon 900Bs, one HS.125-800, one Dornier 228, two configured AugustaWestlan AW helicopters and one Augusta 109E helicopter recently approved by the Chief of the Air Staff to aid the President’s movement.

Air Commodore Amosu noted that “the older an aircraft gets, the more likely that components and parts will fail. And we have experienced multiple failures of Falcon 900 engines within the last one year. We believe that the federal government’s decision to replace the aging aircraft in the fleet at this time is lauedable. This is because the prices of new aircraft in on the increase while the prices of aging aircraft is on the decrease.”

Revisiting the problems associated with aging aircraft, Amosu stated that the outside the problem of component failure, if is also faced with increased maintenance down time, escalating cost of maintenance, difficulty in obtaining spare parts and issue of airworthiness and certification.

According to him, “in 2007, the Falcon 900 (5N-FGO) spent eight months on maintenance while the Falcon (5N-FGE) spent about 12 months on maintenance in 2008. The two Falcon 900Bs in the unit have had multiple engine failures within the last one year. Additionally, the Gulfstream IV spent about six months on maintenance in 2008 and about four months in 2009. And the cost of maintaining the aging aircraft in the Fleet was increasing more significantly on an annual basis due to the need for more in-depth maintenance required to keep them airworthy. For instance, the maintenance due on the Gulfstream IV is expected to cost between US$3-US$5 million. The government has spent over $4.8million on this aircraft in the last two years. Additionally, we spent over $4.8 million on one of the Falcon 900 aircraft in 2008 while the second aircraft gulped similar amount the following year.

“Due to the emergence of new aircraft types and models from manufacturers, the aircraft manufacturing of certain parts and spares have become outdated. This usually results in prolonged downtime because the parts have to be fabricated at high cost and takes longer time than usual to get. We had this experience on the Gulfstream IV and Falcon 900 aircraft in 2009 when it took the manufacturer about two and a half months to fabricate a damaged part on these aircraft. And due to evolving technology and sophistication in the aircraft industry, it is challenging for older aircraft types to meet up with European and USA aviation requirements. The requirements usually restrict the operations of older aircraft and the cost of complying with each of these requirements is significantly high. In Nigeria, for example, the NCAA has some restrictions on airplanes which are more than 22 years old, and it is important for the government to set the standard and not disrespect the laws.”

The PAF Commander said that “with the acquisition of the new platforms, the Fleet has fully entered into the regime of long range operations. By implications, it is now one stop to any destination in the world.”

Air Commodore Amosu also confirmed that President Goodluck Jonathan has given directives for the construction of a protective hanger for the newly acquired aircraft so as to “provide security for the new aircraft against sabotage and harsh weather condition.”

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BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
This entry was posted in AFRICA, AFRICAN ARMED FORCES, DEFENCE INDUSTRIES & PRODUCTION, GLOBAL DEFENCE NEWS, NIGERIA, NIGERIAN AIR FORCE, NIGERIAN ARMED FORCES, NIGERIAN ARMY, NIGERIAN NAVY, POLITICS, WEST AFRICAN STANDBY FORCE and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to WHY NIGERIA’S PRESIDENTIAL AIR FLEET NEEDS NEW AIRCRAFT TYPES

  1. Fibo Nacci says:

    China’s New J-20 Stealth Fighter Jet – First “Flight” Video?

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