The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has reactivated and commissioned another Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jet aircraft after Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM).
The avionics upgrade has also significantly improved the aircraft navigation and communications systems, thus increasing safety, reliability, and overall efficiency. The training aircraft (NAF 455) was recommissioned by the 407 Air Combat Training Group (407 ACTG) at Kainji Air Base on 21 March. The event also featured the inspection of the upgraded avionics equipment on the aircraft as well as a test flight with aerobatics display.
The reactivation would go a long way in boosting the morale of troops on the frontlines and better equip the NAF in its drive to sustain the offensive initiative against the terrorists and insurgents. The in-house Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM), apart from being cost-effective when compared to the overseas option, also affords NAF technicians the opportunity to build better technical capacity,the Nigerian Air Force quoted Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar as saying during the aircraft’s recommissioning ceremony.
Nigerian Alpha Jets have been used in the ground attack role to strike Boko Haram targets and a couple have been lost on operations: one crashed in Niger, killing two pilots, in May 2013 while another went down in September last year. The NAF has recently reactivated a number of its Alpha Jets. In 2015 Nigerian Air Force has acquired at least two second hand Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet trainer and light attack aircraft as it continues to expand its aerial fleet. A total of 24 were acquired in the 1980s but several have been lost in crashes. Apparently 11 have been made flyable again.
The Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet is a light attack jet and advanced jet trainer co-manufactured by Dassault Aviation of France and Dornier Flugzeugwerke of Germany. It was developed specifically to perform trainer and light attack missions, as well as to perform these duties more ideally than the first generation of jet trainers that preceded it. Following a competition, a design submitted by a team comprising Breguet Aviation, Dassault Aviation, and Dornier Flugzeugwerke, initially designated as the TA501, was selected and subsequently produced as the Alpha Jet.