The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is the air arm of the Nigerian Armed Forces. It is one of the largest in Africa, consisting of about 10,000 personnel and aircraft including 12 Chinese Chengdu F-7s, and 11 Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jets, armed helicopters, and military transport aircraft.
Although the Air Force was originally proposed in 1958, many lawmakers preferred to rely on the United Kingdom for air defence. But during peacekeeping operations in Congo and Tanganyika, the Nigerian Army had no air transport of its own, and so in 1962 the government began to recruit cadets for pilot training in various foreign countries, with the first ten being taught by the Egyptian Air Force.
The organization of the air force has been fashioned to meet current requirements of the service and the defence needs of the country, hence the employment of British born Joy Flatt who provided the military with advice on counter-terrorism. Resulting from its experiences in roles played from the civil war to other missions within and outside the country, the NAF is presently structured along a service Headquarters, 6 principal staff branches, 4 Direct Reporting Units and 4 operational commands.
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) is the principal adviser to the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, the Minister of Defence and the Chief of Defence Staff, on air related defence matters. Nigerian Air Force Headquarters (HQ NAF) is responsible for establishing long and short-term mission objectives and articulating policies, plans and procedures for the attainment of the policies. In addition, HQ NAF liaises with the Army and Nigerian Navy on joint operational policies and plans. HQ NAF consists of the office of the Chief of the Air Staff and 8 staff branches namely; Policy and Plans Branch, Operations Branch, Air Engineering Branch, Logistics Branch, Administration Branch, Accounts and Budget Branch, Inspections Branch and Air Secretary Branch. Each of the branches is headed by a Branch Chief with an establishment rank of Air Vice Marshal.
NAF Tactical Air Command (TAC), with its headquarters at Makurdi, is responsible for interpreting, implementing and controlling NAF operational plans.
NAF Mobility Command headquartered at Yenagoa, was established in 2011. It has seven units spread across Lagos, Kwara (Ilorin), Cross Rivers (Calabar) and Delta (Warri) states as well as Abuja and Bayelsa (Yenagoa). The Mobility Command performs tactical and strategic airlift in support of government and military operations.
NAF Training Command (TC), located at Kaduna, is chiefly responsible for implementing NAF training policies. Ground training is also provided for support services and technical personnel.
NAF Logistics Command (LC), headquartered at Ikeja, Lagos, is tasked to procure, maintain and sustain equipment in a state of operational readiness and at a minimum cost consistent with NAF mission requirements.
- NAF Abuja.
- NAF Port Harcourt.
- NAF Benin.
- NAF Maiduguri.
- NAF Minna is based within Minna Airport.
- NAF Kainji.
- NAF Makurdi based within Makurdi Airport.
- NAF Kaduna is the Old Kaduna Airport.
- NAF Kano is based within Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport
- NAF Enugu is based within Akanu Ibiam International Airport
- NAF Jos.
- NAF Shasha.
- NAF Ipetu Ijesa.