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RAF Force Protection Wing deploy to Nigeria

A 66 person Short Term Training Team (STTT) from No 5 Royal Air Force (RAF) Force Protection Wing deployed from RAF Lossiemouth to Nigeria for a 6 week period to train the Nigerian Air Force Regiment. The focus of the STTT is to deliver a training package which enables students to operate effectively in the Complex Air Ground Environment (CAGE) by understanding their role to provide security and Force Protection operations both inside and outside an Air base. This forms a key part of a layered defence system; deterring and defeating an enemy away from the airfield whilst also assuring internal security of a base. Additionally, Commissioned and Non-Commissioned officers will be given the opportunity to enhance their tactical leadership and planning skills, whilst the Junior Airmen and Airwomen build on the skills they learned during basic training.

The detachment, the 3rd undertaken by 5 FP Wing g in a 5 year programme, comes after a request from the Nigerian Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar to assist in capacity building for the Nigerian Air Force Regiment. Air Marshal Abubakar said:

Given the importance of bases in the airpower delivery matrix, it is not inconceivable to expect our adversaries to target our airbases. As a matter of fact, we have had an attack on one of our airbases in the recent past, and current intelligence reports keep highlighting the possibility of attacks on our bases. All these reinforce the need to emplace a robust base defence concept that is capable of providing guidance for responding to a wide range of situations that may threaten our bases.

Officer Commanding 5 FP Wing, Wing Commander John Rees said:

We are delighted to be here again and, as always, humbled by the warmth of the Nigerian welcome. We are proud of our Royal Air Force heritage and the opportunity to represent our service in the Defence Engagement arena.

During time away from delivering training, STTT personnel have taken opportunities to expand their cultural awareness. A small group attended their first Nigerian church service, meeting local people and celebrating together. Others burn the midnight oil, thinking tactics and formations for the first of the UK vs Nigeria Air Forces football series.

Having already delivered the Train the Trainer package to 50 Non Commissioned Officers and Commissioned Officers, a further 250 students will now begin the Foundation Phase, bringing a total of around 300 Nigerian personnel to be trained across a mixture of ranks. The programme will culminate with a demanding final exercise at a live airfield to validate the understanding of all skills taught in a realistic environment prior to the graduating students deploying to their first operational assignment in the Nigerian Air Force.

Distributed by APO on behalf of British High Commission Abuja.