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Nigerian Air Force introduces first Super Mushshaks into service

A Nigerian Air Force Super Mushshak. NAF photo.The Nigerian Air Force received its first four Super Mushshak trainer aircraft from Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) on 5 December during a ceremony at Kaduna air base north of Lagos, Nigeria.

The aircraft were handed over by Pakistan’s Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, and accepted by Nigeria’s Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar and the Ministry of Defence’s Permanent Secretary Danjuma Sheni.

Nigeria signed a contract for ten Super Mushshaks on 21 October with PAC Kamra, which is loaning eight aircraft to Nigeria as an interim measure until new aircraft are delivered, reports Flight Global. The first four aircraft were flown to Kaduna, where the Nigerian Air Force’s flying training wing is located, aboard an Ilyushin Il-76 on 1 December.

“The contract includes operational training and technical support by the Pakistan air force,” PAC Kamra chairman AM Arshad Malik told Flight Global.

Another four Super Mushshaks will be delivered by the second quarter of 2017 but these will be replaced by new examples in the middle of the year which will have improvements like a glass cockpit and improved air conditioning.

The Nigerian Air Force’s 301 Flight Training School at Kaduna has been expanded to accept the Super Mushshak – it has been flying the Dana Air Beetle (based on a Vans RV-series design) since 1995.

PAC hopes the Nigerian sale will open up other markets – sales have already been healthy of late, with Qatar ordering eight Super Mushshaks in May and Turkey ordering 52 in November. The Pakistan Air Force also operates the type.

In addition to the Super Mushshaks, Abubakar recently indicated that Nigeria will be receiving four new Mi-35N attack helicopters from Russia, at least three ex-Brazilian Air Force Super Tucanos suited for light attack and surveillance operations as well as three JF-17 Thunder fighter jets from Pakistan. In May this year the US was seeking to approve the sale of up to 12 Super Tucanos to Nigeria to battle Boko Haram.

The Nigerian Air Force is also bringing grounded aircraft back into service and recently refurbished three Mi-24V and Mi-35P attack helicopters, two EC-135s, two AugustaWestland A109s and one Super Puma. In addition it has also refurbished one Beechcraft light aircraft, one Falcon jet, one Diamond DA-42 and two Dornier DO-228 aircraft used for surveillance.