The JF-17 Thunder Block II fighter jets is underway with Nigerian Air Force (NAF) pilots testing the aircraft in the Pakistan Aeronautics Complex (PAC), Kamra Kalan. Nigeria became the second customer in 2016 by placing an order for 3 planes. The Nigerian Air Force has confirmed it is expecting delivery of JF-17 for use in military operations against Jihadi militants in Northern Nigeria. The aircraft are rumored to be of a later version than the initially agreed sale, providing more advanced systems.
In October 2018 Pakistan approved of the sale and local Nigerian production of three JF-17s for US$184.3 million. Nigeria had inked a contract to purchase three JF-17 Block II fighter jets and the deal was formally set in motion in March 2019 when the Pakistani government’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) approved a $184.3 million sovereign guarantee. The Nigerian JF-17 Block II’s price tag of approximately $60 million each indicate an aircraft with an array of weapons including air-to-air and air-to-ground aircraft and guided.
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. It was designed to replace the A-5C, F-7P/PG, Mirage III, and Mirage V combat aircraft in the Pakistan Air Force. The JF-17 can be used for multiple roles, including interception, ground attack, anti-ship, and aerial reconnaissance. Its designation “JF-17” by Pakistan is short for “Joint Fighter-17”, while the designation and name “FC-1 Xiaolong” by China means “Fighter China-1 Fierce Dragon”.
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. Since its induction in 2011, the JF-17 Thunder has accumulated 19,000 hours of operational flight. The JF-17 has seen active military service as it is used by the Pakistan Air Force to bomb militant positions in North Waziristan, using both unguided munitions and guided missiles for precision strike capability.