The Nigerian Air Force is the air-focused arm of the Nigerian military. It was established in 1964 with technical assistance from West Germany. The Nigerian Air Force started as a transport unit for the army, with the original aircrew trained in Canada, Ethiopia, and Pakistan. The Air Force did not get combat capability until the soviet union presented it with a number of MiG-17 aircraft in 1966. Today, its fleet includes multiple military transport aircraft, helicopter gunships, armed attack drones, Chinese Chengdu F-7s, Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jets, JF-17 Thunder Block II, Super Tucano aircraft, and M-346 FA.
Rank Structure Of The Nigerian Air Force
The Nigerian Air Force rank structure is based on educational qualifications, the number of years in service, and military training. This rank structure is similar to that of the British Royal Air Force which is not surprising seeing as Nigeria used to be colonized by Britain. It is worthy to note that the Chief of Air Staff also doubles as the presidential adviser on defense matters relating to air operations. He works together with the Minister of Defense and Chief of Defense Staff.
However, there are 11 official ranks in the commissioned officers rank of the Nigerian Air Force and they include:
- Marshal of the Nigerian Air Force
- Air Chief Marshal
- Air Marshal
- Air Vice-Marshal
- Air Commodore
- Group Captain
- Wing Commander
- Squadron Leader
- Flight Lieutenant
- Flying Officer
- Pilot Officer
There are 9 ranks in the non-commissioned officers rank of the Nigerian Air Force and they are in this order:
- Air Warrant Officer
- Master Warrant Officer
- Warrant Officer
- Flight Sergeant
- Lance Corporal
- Aircraft Man
Salaries Of Commissioned Officers In The Nigerian Air Force
The Nigerian Air Force salary structure is based on ranks and educational qualifications. More so, it is worth mentioning that there is a fixed structure that is put in place in the Military and this determines what each employee of the Nigerian Air Force receives as a monthly salary.
As of now, the ranks and salary structure is known as the Consolidated Armed Forces Salary Structure (CONAFSS). This determines the salary of all the armed forces in Nigeria; Army, Navy, and Air Force.
The monthly pay for commissioned officers in the Nigerian Air Force is hereby given as follows:
- Air Chief Marshal – N1,724,283
- Air Marshal – N1,486,451
- Air Vice-Marshal – N1,376,343
- Air Commodore – N677,895
- Group Captain – N352,631
- Wing Commander – N342,586
- Squadron Leader – N248,004
- Flight Lieutenant – N232,484
- Flying Officer – N218,400
- Pilot Officer – N187,159
Salaries Of Non-Commissioned Officers In The Nigerian Air Force
With regards to the salary structure for non-commissioned officers, the following pay rates are used:
- Air Warrant Officer – N171,793 per month
- Master Warrant Officer – N165,697 per month
- Warrant Officer – N101,974 per month
- Flight Sergeant – N87,119 per month
- Sergeant – N69,261 per month
- Corporal – N58,634 per month
- Lance Corporal – N55,832 per month
- Aircraftman – N53,892 per month
- Cadet (Trainee) – N44,564 per month
Does The Nigerian Air Force Give Incentives Asides From Salaries?
Apart from the basic monthly salary, the Nigerian Air Force officers are also eligible for operational allowances and other seasonal bonuses as prescribed by the Nigerian military leadership. More so, they have over time introduced the welfare unit of the Nigerian Air Force which was initially known as Army Welfare Holdings Limited (AWHL) but has since metamorphosed into the Nigerian Air Force Welfare Limited/Guarantee.
The primary focus of this welfare unit is to oversee the welfare of the Nigerian Air Force personnel. It is also charged with the responsibility of providing the strategic policy, direction, streamline, harmonize, and coordinate the activities of hitherto independent subsidiaries which include the Nigerian Air Force Properties Limited, Nigerian Air Force Welfare Insurance Scheme, Post-Service Housing Development, and Post-Service Homes Savings and Loans.
How Do Officers Get Promoted?
Performance appraisal for promotion within the military is usually conducted for a variety of officers from various units/sections of the Nigerian Air Force in various formations across the states of the federation. It would also interest you to know that the Nigerian Air Force has metrics and processes for measuring performance. The value is typically between 0 – 9 for performances on the ground and in the air. Usually, the combined quantitative and qualitative performance scores from the past and present records of the military personnel are used in the selection and appraisal process.
In order to combine such mixed performance scores, the human resource department first develops evaluation criteria and establishes relative weighting among them. For example, performance indices like past position/education, awards, and organization contribution are assigned to experience, job expertise, and miscellaneous categories. Based on the metrics and relative weighting, the headquarters convenes a promotion board to conduct promotion appraisals. The evaluation indices are determined and finally, the officers to be promoted are selected. The selection of evaluators and aggregation of individual evaluators’ appraisal results influence the ultimate scores of performance evaluation.
With regards to the Nigerian Air Force, the officers receive promotions based on certain qualifications, accomplishments, and number of years in service. The key criteria needed to be met before one is considered due for promotion have been given as:
- Performance of duty
- Level of competence
- Years in service
- Leadership skills and ability
- Number of training passed
- Number of courses underwent
- Awards and decorations for outstanding service etc.
It is also important to note that promotions occur chronologically, according to rank, and one can only be promoted to the next rank. More so, promotion can only occur within the division of commissioned and non-commissioned officers. That is to say, a non-commissioned officer cannot be promoted to a commissioned rank. However, if you join the Air Force as a graduate with a B.Sc, you stand a chance of climbing the ladder very fast and being promoted easily.
Functions of the Nigerian Air Force
Since its establishment in April 1964, the Nigerian Air Force has grown to consist of a workforce of more than 18,000 staff. However, beyond just expanding in its organizational structure and size, this air-arm of the military force has been saddled with a lot of obligations and they include:
- Provision of air defense to complement the military defense of the country.
- Providing support to the ground-based army and sea-based navy of the Nigerian armed forces by providing close air support.
- Playing a pivotal role in maintaining the integrity of the country as a single united entity.
- They engage in various air transport operations.
- They are also involved in maritime air operations.
- This unit supplies forces for the execution of combat operations.
- Supplies equipment for electronic war operations whenever the need arises.