The Nigerian Air Force capped off its 57th anniversary celebration on May 20 with the induction of three new JF-17 multi-role Thunder fighters from Pakistan.
The Nigerian Air Force announced the JF-17 acquisition in 2016. The aircraft were delivered by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex during a ceremony attended by high-ranking air force officials.
Earlier reports have said that Nigeria could possibly order up to 40 further JF-17 fighters in the future.
JF-17 is a single-engine, lightweight multi-role fighter, which was jointly developed by China and Pakistan and first flew in 2003.
Nigeria’s defense minister Major General Bashir Magashi said the induction of the JF-17 aircraft is indicative of how the NAF has continued to advance it capability and capacity over the past 57 years, while developing competencies to achieve its constitutional mandate of defending the nation’s territorial integrity by air.
Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, stated that the induction of the newly acquired JF-17 multi-role Thunder aircraft marked the climax of the NAF 57th Anniversary Celebration. He noted that under president Muhammadu Buhari, the NAF inducted 23 new aircraft into its inventory, comprising 10 Super Mushshak trainer aircraft and 13 rotary wing combat platforms and 5 Mi-35M helicopter gunships. Others are 4 Agusta 109 Power helicopters, 2 Mi-171E and 2 Bell 412 multi-role helicopters.
The CAS added that, the induction of the 3 JF-17 Thunder aircraft thus brings the total number of newly inducted aircraft in the last 6 years to 26.
Speaking further, the CAS disclosed that the NAF is expecting 20 additional platforms, comprising 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft from the United States of America and 8 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that would arrive Nigeria “in no distant time.”