The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has received an ATR 42 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft back from Germany after it underwent maintenance with Rheinland Air Service (RAS).
The NAF said it took delivery of the aircraft (NAF 930) on 3 July. It was received by Chief of Policy and Plans, Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao, on behalf of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
“The reactivation of the aircraft, which was successfully executed at the Rheinland Air Services (RAS) Facilities, Monchengladbach, Germany after clocking 5 000 hours of operation, was earlier scheduled to be completed within six months. However, due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, the completion date was extended by three months,” the NAF said.
The aircraft arrived in Germany on 16 September 2019. It is one of two ATR 42s ordered in 2007 for $73 million including crew training and logistics. The first was delivered to the NAF in December 2009 by Alenia Aeronautica (now Leonardo). The aircraft are configured for maritime patrol/intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and were acquired for maritime surveillance, search and rescue and marine environmental control. They are equipped with a Galileo Avionica airborne tactical observation and surveillance system that includes search radar and an EOST-45 electro-optic surveillance and tracking sensor.
The Nigerian Air Force added that over the last five years it has, in collaboration with its technical partners, successfully reactivated some of its platforms in-country. It has done Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) on two C-130H aircraft as well as the PDM/avionics upgrade of three Alpha Jets.
“However, being the first PDM on the ATR-42 aircraft (NAF 930) after ten years of operation, it was considered expedient to conduct this major maintenance activity abroad to take advantage of the facilities and expertise of RAS as well as build the capacity of the NAF Engineers and Technicians that participated in the reactivation process in Germany,” the NAF said.
Nigeria’s ATR 42s (NAF930 and NAF931) are assigned to the 81 Air Maritime Group based at Benin City, Nigeria. They are also deployed with 75 Strike Group in Yola from where they are tasked with combating Boko Haram terrorists.
NAF 930 will soon be redeployed to the northeast to further enhance the Air Task Force’s intelligence gathering capabilities.