13 December 2013. 0300 hrs
In a nighttime assault, 300 heavily armed Boko Haram insurgents wearing dark non reflective clothing quickly penetrated the security perimeter of the Composite Group Air Base in Maiduguri and reached the flight line, where they destroyed two Mi-24 attack helicopters and three MiG-21 that was slated to be delivered to the NAF museum the very next day.
The audacious attack which started at 3am shook the base with sporadic gunfire and RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade). A resident said: “We heard women and children in the barracks crying and wailing. At the gate, I saw some vehicles destroyed and the checkpoint there in shreds.” Some eyewitnesses told the AP news agency they had seen bodies with their throats slit.Two Mi-24 helicopter gunships and three decommissioned MiG-21 were set ablaze A counter offensive by Air Force jets 24 hours later killed 100 Boko Haram fighters.
The Composite Air Base was ringed by a chain link fence, concertina wire, and three watchtowers that supposedly provided good visibility across the open terrain surrounding the air base. For some reason they had left the towers unmanned. The Boko Haram insurgents used mortar fire to cover the assault by well-armed sappers who pierced the perimeter defenses of the air base
Leaving an airbase lightly defended in the middle of a counter insurgency war has proved disastrous and was a source of embarrassment to the Nigerian Air Force, with the Chief of Air Staff lucky to keep his job despite calls for him to be replaced. Although the Composite Air Base has a lot of ground troops, most of those at the air base were aviators, maintainers, and other support personnel.
To prevent a repeat the NAF created a Special Forces unit, incorporating elements from the pre-existing Airfield Defense Corps to form the Nigerian Air Force Special Forces Regiment, modelled after Britain’s RAF Regiment, with their core mission being the protection of air base and ground infrastructure….l
Nigerian Air Force Special Regiment (AFSF)
Though it performs a wide range of operations, the primary task of the AFSF is base defense. Who ever wants to attack a Nigerian airforce base will have to get through this guys first.
Helicopter Scout Unit
Training is modelled after the British Royal Air Force Regiment.
Rescue and Assault Repelling Training
NAF Quick Response Force (not for the frail of heart)
The Quick Response Squad is Nigeria’s equivalent to the U.S Air FORCE 6 Special Forces. The men who make up the QRS are a special breed of warriors.
Consisting of special ops, paratroopers, amphibious troops, men of the Nigerian Air Force Quick Response Squad are trained at a higher level and intensity than the rest of the Nigerian armed forces. Well equipped and experts in weapons and intelligence gathering, these rapidly forces deployed bring specialised mobility and firepower to the enemy any time anywhere.
Often operating in hostile areas, these highly trained specialists not only provide combat support, but are skilled parachutists, scuba divers, rock climbers.
Nigerias AFSF forces wear body armor made of, carry armor-puncturing knives, and don visions systems that can combine visual data with infrared and feeds from UAVs overhead.
Beryl M762 assault rifle.
IWI Tavor assault rifle.
All any given time there are Alpha jets and L-39Z in light attack configuration flying around and Boko Haram didnt really care much about them. But there’s one aircraft that scares them, this is a helicopter equipped with heavy machine gun that spits out 4,000 rounds a minute.
Boko Haram knows this gunship is used at night when there are some Special Forces operations. It deployes attack helicopters and some of the most sophisticated hardware on the continent. But never forgets the QPR troops. Humans are more important that hardware. To remain the best QPR is designed to operate at anytime of the day. If you know we are there, then it’s too late.
Air Power is one of the greatest assets the Nigerian military has over Boko Haram. Unfortunately the Nigerian Air Force have refused to modernise. Lacking 4th generation attack aircrafts it is the job of the NAF Reconnaissance Squadron and the QPR Specialits to imbed with Army units on the frontline and call in air strikes precisely when they’re needed.