Nigerian Air Force Set To Induct The First Batch Of Pakistan-made JF-17 Thunder Fighter Jets

Nigerian Air Force Set To Induct The First Batch Of  Pakistan-made JF-17 Thunder Fighter Jets

The official Twitter handle of the Government of Nigeria announced that the country’s air force was expecting the delivery of three JF-17 fighters from Pakistan.

The Government of Nigeria Twitter handle quoted Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, chief of the Nigerian Air Force, as saying, “We are expecting 3 JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft from Pakistan, 12 A-29 Super Tucano from the United States, and one Mi-171E… A total of 200 personnel are receiving training in 9 different countries of the world on handling combat aircraft. They will soon join their colleagues in the fight against insecurity and in particular, insurgency in the North East.”

Pakistan-made JF-17 Thunder Block II jets have been spotted in Nigerian Air Force (NAF) paint scheme indicating that they could be headed to Abuja.

Images appearing in social media show the blue-on-white round logo of the NAF on the wing of a JF-17 Thunder aircraft.

Nigerian Air Force Set To Induct The First Batch Of  Pakistan-made JF-17 Thunder Fighter Jets
JF-17 wing with Nigerian Air Force logo. Image via Twitter

Images surfaced of Nigerian pilots training on the JF-17 at the Pakistan Aeronautics Complex (PAC), the company that builds the aircraft.

Nigerian Air Force Set To Induct The First Batch Of  Pakistan-made JF-17 Thunder Fighter Jets

On November 10, the Nigerian Air Force’s Facebook account tweeted that the Makurdi Air Base was being modernised to accommodate the JF-17 fighters.

The Nigerian Air Force announced that Abubakar had commissioned a facility to accommodate “Pakistani pilots and technicians who would support the JF-17 aircraft during the first year of its operations in Nigeria”.

Talk of a deal between Pakistan and Nigeria to supply JF-17 fighters was first reported in 2015-2016. In 2018, Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee approved a deal to sell three JF-17 jets to Nigeria at a cost of $184.3 million.

Interestingly, China Economic Net, a Chinese state publication, reported on Tuesday that the deal to supply to JF-17 fighters to Nigeria was a joint venture between PAC and China’s Chengdu Aircraft Corporation. “Each jet costing $61.2 million apiece includes a complement of missiles, laser-guided bombs and targeting pods supplied by China,” China Economic Net reported.

The JF-17 is expected to be Nigeria’s most advanced supersonic fighter. The Nigerian Air Force currently uses the Chinese-built J-7 (a derivative of the MiG-21). The JF-17 would give the Nigerian Air Force the capability to fire beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles and also deploy precision-guided bombs for ground-attack missions against groups such as Boko Haram.

The JF-17 entered service with the Pakistan Air Force in 2010. Over 150 JF-17 fighters have been built and Pakistan and China have been engaged in developing an upgraded ‘Block 3’ variant that would feature advanced radar and other electronics.

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