By Yahaya Isah
Abuja, Oct. 2, 2020 The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), has inaugurated another CSAR Course (CSAR 3/2020) at the Regiment Training Centre Annex (RTCA), Ipetu-Ijesa.
The Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF Headquarters, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, disclosed this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
CSAR course is an advanced Special Forces (SF) course designed to improve the fighting capability and skills of selected SF elements, whilst equipping them with the principles and techniques required to track.
CSAR is also designed to search for, locate and rescue occupants of downed combat aircraft or personnel in distress, who are remotely located and require assistance, even in dire environments.
The Guest of Honour, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said the idea of having trained CSAR operatives was first mooted in 2014.
This, he said, was after a NAF combat helicopter crashed in the North-East and the crew went missing for more than 48 hours, but eventually survived.
CAS was represented by the Air Officer Commanding, Ground Training Command (AOC GTC), AVM Idi Amin.
He noted that the lack of adequate capacity, at that time, to search for, locate and rescue the crew within a stipulated time frame brought to fore, the need to develop CSAR capacity for the service.
Abubakar also noted that due to limited number of training slots abroad and the high cost of foreign training, NAF took steps to develop its own homegrown CSAR course, with first course conducted in 2018 and another in May 2020.
He stated that a total of 52 NAF CSAR personnel had so far been trained and deployed to various theatres of operation across the country.
CAS further noted that the development had significantly boosted the morale of NAF aircrew, because they now have confidence that, in the event of a mishap, they would be promptly located and rescued.
“The development of CSAR capability is part of the overall efforts of the current NAF leadership to build capacity to effectively and efficiently respond to emerging security challenges.
“This strategic outlook has led to significant boosting of the capacity of NAF Regiment and SF elements, with the strength of SF personnel more than tripling in the last five years.
“To a 1,300-strong well-trained, well-kitted and well-motivated force capable of conducting specialised operations.”
Abubakar, however, added that to further boost the number to meet the exigencies of emerging security challenges, NAF recently inaugurated another SF Course for 219 Regiment personnel at the RTCA Bauchi.
While congratulating the 50 trainees of CSAR 3/2020, comprising three officers and 47 airmen, for successfully scaling through the rigorous screening process, the GOH urged them to imbibe and exhibit the attributes of NAF SF operatives.
This, he said, include: honesty, courage, perseverance and adaptability during the training.
He reiterated that the training and provision of critical infrastructure for NAF had only been made possible through the immense support of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I therefore, wish to express the profound gratitude of officers, airmen,/airwomen and civilian staff of NAF to the President.
“We shall continue to strive to discharge our constitutional responsibilities to the Nation with wholehearted commitment,”he said.
Earlier, the Commander 209 Quick Response Group, Group Capt. Idowu Ayo, thanked CAS for his support and timely response towards training activities at Ipetu-ljesa.
Ayo assured that the RTCA Ipetu-Ijesa would do its best to produce professional, dogged, trustworthy and mentally/physically sound CSAR operatives, who would operate effectively in any terrain deployed to.
The event, which had senior NAF officers and heads of paramilitary organisations in attendance, ended with a live shooting exercise.