The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) will take delivery of its JF-17 Thunder fighter jets in November this year, and A-29 Super Tucano turboprops in 2022, according t oChief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, speaking during the graduation of 2 079 new recruits on 15 February. He said over the last four and a half years, the Federal Government facilitated an unprecedented increase in the number of aircraft available for NAF operations, bringing the aircraft serviceability rate from 35% in July 2015 up to 82% as at February 2020.
In 2016, Nigeria started budgeting funds for its JF-17 order with an initial tranche of $15.88 million US. In 2017, it allocated another $68.76 million US for platform acquisitions and in 2018 Nigeria set aside another $47 million US. In March 2019, Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) announced that it approved the sale of three JF-17s to Nigeria under a $184 million US contract. Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has three on order but more may be acquired from Pakistan to replace or supplement its Chengdu F-7Ni fleet – a third of its 15 F-7Ni/FT-7Ni aircraft have been lost in crashes.
The JF-17 Block-II represents a major capability jump for the Nigerian Air Force. The PAC JF-17 Thunder is a lightweight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) of China. The JF-17 can deploy diverse ordnance, including air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, and a 23 mm GSh-23-2 twin-barrel autocannon. Powered by a Guizhou WS-13 or Klimov RD-93 afterburning turbofan, it has a top speed of Mach 1.8. The JF-17 is to become the backbone of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), complementing the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon at half the cost.The PAF inducted its first JF-17 squadron in February 2010.