First Pakistani PAC JF-17 Thunder Arrive in Nigeria

An Il-76 transport plane belonging to the Pakistan Air Force arrived at the Nigerian Air Force’s 21st Makurdi Air Base loaded with a JF-17 fighter jet. In December 2014, during the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar in Karachi, Nigeria was reportedly buying between 25 and 40 JF-17s from Pakistan. Nigerian Air Force (NAF) chief Air Marshal Adesola Nunayon Amosu had visited Pakistan earlier in October 2014. Nigeria became the second customer in 2016 by placing an order for three planes. The value the deal at US$25 million, it is not clear if the item is misreported.

The Nigerian Air Force has confirmed it is expecting delivery of JF-17 for use in military operations against Jihadi militants in Northern Nigeria. In October 2018 Pakistan approved of the sale and local Nigerian production of three JF-17s for US$184.3 million. The aircraft are rumored to be of a later version than the initially agreed sale, providing more advanced systems. On 30 December 2020, the PAC rolled out three JF-17Ns – JF-17A Block 2s – for NAF, which are awaiting delivery. NAF may order 35-40 more JF-17s if the aircraft meets its requirements.

Nigerian Air Force JF-17 Thunder Begins Flight Tests in Pakistan
Nigerian Air Force JF-17 Thunder Begins Flight Tests in Pakistan

The PAC JF-17 Thunder is a lightweight, single-engine, fourth-generation 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 (PAF). The JF-17 can be used for multiple roles, including interception, ground attack, anti-ship, and aerial reconnaissance.

The JF-17 can deploy diverse ordnance, including air-to-air, 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 1.6. The JF-17 is the backbone and workhorse of the PAF, complementing the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon at half the cost. The JF-17 was inducted in the PAF in February 2010. 58% of the JF-17 airframe, including its front fuselage, wings, and vertical stablizer, is produced in Pakistan with the final assembly taking place in Pakistan.

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