Nigerian Air Force is the “Air Branch” of Nigerian Armed Forces. Established on 18th April 1964 NAF operates “Alpha Jet” for Light Attack Roles, Chengdu F-7Ni as Interceptor, EMB-314 Super Tucano for COIN operations & Mil Mi-24/35 Attack Helicopters.
Since 2010 Nigerian Armed Forces are fighting with insurgents known as “Boko Haram”. The role of NAF in this fight is to provide “Close Air Support” (CAS) to Nigerian Army.
NAF’s JF-17 Thunder
Nigerian Government approached Pakistan (PAC Kamra) in 2014 for the purchase of JF-17 Thunder Multirole Fighter Aircraft. JFT is a joint venture between CAC & PAC.
In March 2019, Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) approved the Sale of Three JF-17 Thunders to Nigeria under $184 Million US Contract. It it believed that this three-year gap came because Pakistan was waiting payment from Nigeria.
Finally, On March 2020, Nigerian Air Force COAS announced that the delivery of three JF-17 Thunder will take place in November 2020.
JF-17 Thunder ordered by Nigeria belongs to Block-2 Variant & it will boast NAF’s capabilities. Since it can Fire BVRAAM (SD-10) in Air-Air Configuration. Block-II has precision-strike capability through Satellite-Guided & Laser-Guided Bombs. It can fire the C-802A Anti-ship Missile. In addition, it uses the “Stand-Off Range” Range Extension Kit (REK) which further uses “Takbir Bombs”. JFT Block-2 demonstrated its capabilities during “Operation Swift Retort” when it bombed Indian Defense Installations in IOJK using REK & Takbir Guided Bombs.
As per sources Nigeria will place order for more JFTs since NAF wants to replace it Legacy Fighters like F-7Ni & FT-7Ni with more JFT Block-2s & JF-17B Thunder (Bravo). Bravo is a dual seat version of Thunder & can be used for Training, Ground Attack missions & Electronic Warfare (EW).
Important Note: “PSF wishes best of luck to Thunder & Nigerian Air Force. May our Bird, our Pride & our Symbol of resilience the JF-17 Thunder serves Nigeria well. Thank You Nigeria for choosing the JF-17 Thunder”.