According to a statement made by the Nigerian Air Force’s (NAF) Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, the NAF will receive three JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighters in November 2020.
The announcement was made while the CAS spoke before some 2,079 new NAF recruits at a passing out parade in Kaduna.
The provision for the JF-17 orders was made available in the 2016 budget with an allocation of $15.88 million US dollars. Subsequently, in 2017, another sum of $68.76 million US dollars was allocated for “platform acquisition for counter-air, counter-surface, air ops for strategic effect and air support operations.”
Another $47 million US dollars were set aside for the campaign in 2018, according to reports by the Defence News website Quwa.
Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) made an announcement in March 2019 that it has approved the sale of three JF-17s to Nigeria in a $184 million USD contract.
This announcement showed the cumulative financial commitment Nigeria entered into in order to secure the weapons.
With these new additions to Nigerian Air Force’s arsenal, it’ll mark an upgrade in the military agency’s ability to deal with terrorism and insurgency in the country.
What’s also of note in the deal is the fact that the Federal Government is making the acquisition through available cash funds, rather than opening a new line of credit or loan to secure the purchase.
Analysts expect that the NAF will most likely renew its contracts with Pakistan once it takes delivery of the fighter jets in order to secure more jets.
With the possession of the new JF-17 fighter jets by NAF, this positions Nigeria as the country in Sub-Saharan Africa to possess the best-equipped fighters, only trailing behind South African Air Force’s JAS-39/D Gripen, reports Quwa.
According to Air Marshal Abubakar, NAF has also improved its serviceability rates in the area of aircraft from 35% in 2015 to 82% in 2020.