By Sumaila Ogbaje
Air Marshal Elson Moyo, the Commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ), has expressed his country’s desire to explore technical assistance from the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).
Moyo made the request when he visited the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, at NAF headquarters in Abuja.
This is contained in a statement issued on Wednesday by Air Commodore Ayodele Famuyiwa, the Director, of Public Relations and Information, NAF, in Abuja.
The Zimbabwe air chief requested technical support in the areas of research and development, unmanned aerial vehicle technology as well as operation and maintenance of F7 and Mi-35 aircraft.
Moyo said the identified areas for collaboration were of common and peculiar aviation interests to Zimbabwe and Nigeria, whose air forces operate some similar aircraft.
According to him, the NAF, within a short time, had recorded remarkable feats in its transformation effort to develop indigenous capacity.
This, he said, provides a motivation for the AFZ to look inward as part of efforts to address the technical challenges arising from sanctions imposed on his country, which have limited the ability of AFZ to acquire basic aircraft parts and other technical aids necessary for operational efficiency.
Also, Moyo commended the NAF for its support to AFZ in the past, acknowledging the high-quality training given to the first batch of Zimbabwean pilots trained in the 1980s by the NAF.
This, according to him, informs the decision by AFZ to seek improved synergy and collaboration with the NAF, with respect to capacity development.
In his remarks, the Nigerian air chief, Amao, said the NAF was ready to forge a mutually beneficial partnership with the AFZ.
Amao said NAF was currently in partnership with many countries in Africa and beyond, adding that it was willing to partner with others who would seek collaboration with the Service.
According to him, improved synergy among African countries is the solution to many of the challenges, including security, facing the continent.
Amao added that collaboration in the areas of training, technical assistance and technology transfer would boost the capacity of African countries to be self-reliant and independent in driving progress and development on the continent.
The Zimbabwean air chief is on a week-long visit to Nigeria, during which he will be visiting some NAF units, including the North East.