3rd Africa Airforce Forum celebrates Innovation and Collaboration with a grand opening in Nigeria

ABUJA, NIGERIA – The 3rd Africa Airforce Forum kicked off to an inspiring start with a day filled with insightful discussions, innovative presentations, and significant networking opportunities at the Abuja International Conference Centre. Hosted by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), this year’s forum marks a pivotal moment in the realm of African aerospace, air power, and collective security and marks the momentous 60th anniversary of the Nigerian Air Force that will feature a ceremonial parade and aerial display on May 25, 2024, at the Nigerian Air Force Base in Kaduna.

The event commenced with an eloquent welcome address by Air Marshal HB Abubakar, Chief of the Air Staff, Nigerian Air Force. This was followed by a captivating documentary on NAF’s remarkable 60-year journey, showcasing its milestones and contributions to national security.

Honourable Minister of Defence Mohammed Badaru Abubakar con mni said, “I am hopeful that in keeping with the theme: “Nigerian Air Force at 60: Leveraging Strategic Partnerships in Aerospace Innovations for Regional Security”, the discourse during this Africa Airforce Forum will emphasize the importance of unity and collaboration between the Nigerian Air Force and air forces of other African nations. This is critical to effective employment of airpower capabilities in promoting stability and, in a broader perspective, shaping the development of the Nigerian Air Force and other air forces on the continent.”

Air Marshal HB Abubakar, Chief of the Air Staff, Nigerian Air Force said,” This gathering of African Air Chiefs could not have come at a better time than now when the yearning for collaboration towards peace and stability on the continent is at its peak. Accordingly, the all-important issue of partnership in aerospace innovation to sustain our air power capabilities, to protect and advance our Defence and Security interests would form the crux of our discussions in the Third African Air Forces Forum.”

Goodwill messages from air force leaders around the world, including Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, the United States, and China, highlighted the importance of international collaboration in enhancing air power and security. Distinguished speakers included Lieutenant General Yilma Merdasa of the Ethiopian Air Force, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari of the Indian Air Force, General David W. Allvin of the United States Air Force, and Lieutenant General Jia Zhigang of the PLA Air Force, China.

His Excellency Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, Honourable Minister of Defence, Nigeria, delivered a powerful opening address, emphasizing the critical role of aerospace innovations in regional security and the importance of strategic partnerships.

A significant highlight was the unveiling of the “Nigerian Air Force at 60” photobook, a commemorative piece celebrating six decades of excellence and service. The first session of the forum, moderated by a Nigerian Air Force Officer, delved into the challenges and solutions related to aerospace innovations, air power, and collective security in Africa. 

Key presentations were delivered by Gen Lucky Irabor (Rtd), Former Chief of Defence Staff, Nigeria, Brigadier General Mohamed Ould Cheikh Ould Boide, Chief of Air Staff, Mauritania, Lieutenant General Laurent Jean Jaques, Air Force Chief of Staff, Rwanda, Brig Peter Nyamu Githinji, Deputy Chief of Air Staff, Kenya, and Senior Colonel Yang Yujie, Researcher, PLA Air Force Research Institute, China.

Industry leaders shared their insights and latest innovations, showcasing solutions that enhance operational efficiency and security. Notable presentations included those by Squadron Leader Muhammad Bilawal of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Yang Zonglin of Aerospace Longmarch (ALIT), Luis Miguel Serrano Alcubilla of Airbus Defence and Space, and Paballo Motoboli and Arnaud Sobrero of Embraer Defense.

The afternoon session provided further opportunities for networking and engagement, with sponsor videos from AAL Group and Starlite Aviation setting the stage. Subsequent industry insights covered a range of topics, from maximizing operational availability of Pratt & Whitney powered aircraft to Leonardo’s solutions for air power in Africa.

The first day of the 3rd Africa Airforce Forum has set a high benchmark for the remainder of the event. As delegates continue to explore strategic partnerships and innovative solutions, the forum promises to be a transformative platform for shaping the future of African aerospace and security.

The countries participating span the African continent as well as partners from around the world. Main sponsors for the event include Pakistan Aeronautical Complex KARMA, Aerospace Long-march International Trade Co., Ltd, CATIC, Taraba State Government, Government of Enugu State, Rivers State Government, Federal Capital Territory Administration, Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria, GIDS, CETC, Borno State, CPMIEC, Airbus, Embraer, Diamond Aircraft, Havelson, Jet Aviation, KAI, Go Beyond, Caverton, Leonardo, Dornier Aviation, Bauchi State, Nibor Enterprises and Viva Jets.

The forum aims to highlight the importance of collaborative efforts in leveraging airpower for stability and security across Africa. Attendees include professionals from Air Forces, Aviation Authorities, Law Enforcement, Ministries of Defense, and Interior industries.

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