On 20 May, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) inducted into service its three recently delivered JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft during a ceremony at Makurdi Air Base as it celebrated its 57th anniversary.
President and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari, represented by the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, said the event marked another step in the President’s promise to improve the infrastructure and equipment of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
The fourth-generation multi-role combat aircraft were handed over by manufacturer Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). Magashi appreciated the sustained partnership between Nigeria and Pakistan and assured that Nigeria would continue to work with the international community to evolve solutions to the common challenges of terrorism and proliferation of small arms and light weapons.
Speaking at the induction ceremony, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Oladayo Amao, mentioned that under President Buhari, the NAF has inducted 23 new aircraft, comprising ten Super Mushshak trainer aircraft, five Mi-35M attack helicopters, four Agusta 109 helicopters, two Mi-17E and two Bell 412 multi-role helicopters and several Yabhon Flash-20 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from the United Arab Emirates, bringing the number of aircraft acquired for the NAF in the last six years to 26, including the three JF-17s.
The NAF is expecting another 20 aircraft, including 12 A-29 Super Tucanos (along with pilot, engineer and technician training) from the USA and eight Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (two Wing Loong II, four CH-4 and two CH-3 aircraft from China).
The NAF has been able to train 133 new pilots during the six years under Bushari’s six years of rule, along with many engineers and technicians who have received training in multiple countries.
Pakistan recently provided MFI-17 Super Mushak basic trainers as well as Karakorum K-8 intermediate jet trainers and technical assistance to keep the Nigerian fleet of F-7NI Fishcan fighters operational.