Nigerian Air Force Inducts JF-17 Thunder Multirole Combat Aircraft
Nigerian Air Force Inducts JF-17 Thunder Multirole Combat Aircraft

Nigerian Air Force Inducts JF-17 Thunder Multirole Combat Aircraft

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has inducted three JF-17 Thunder multirole combat aircraft. The PAC JF-17 Thunder or CAC FC-1 Xiaolong (Fierce Dragon), 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. 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 ceremony took place on 20 May and was performed by Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari. The induction marked the end of NAF Day Celebration 2021. A JF-17 jet bearing tail number NAF722 was displayed on the airfield of Makurdi during the ceremony. The aircraft will serve as NAF’s frontline multi-role fighter jet. The Nigerian JF-17 is equipped with an Aselpod targeting pod system that can identify targets with pin-point accuracy and inform which ones among them are active. Pakistan had acquired the Aselpad from Turkey’s Aselsan for the use of its own air force.

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Nigerian Air Force Inducts JF-17 Thunder Multirole Combat Aircraft
Nigerian Air Force Inducts JF-17 Thunder Multirole Combat Aircraft. (Photo by PAF)

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. On 30 December 2020, the PAC rolled out three JF-17A Block 2s for NAF, which were delivered to Makurdi Air Base in Nigeria in March 2021 aboard PAF Illyushin Il-78MP freighters. NAF may order 35-40 more JF-17s if the aircraft meets its requirements.

The JF-17 can be armed with up to 4,325 kg (9,535 lb) of air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry, and other equipment mounted externally on the aircraft’s seven hardpoints. All seven hardpoints communicate via a MIL-STD-1760 data-bus architecture with the Stores Management System, which is stated to be capable of integration with weaponry of any origin. Internal armament comprises one 23 mm (0.91 in) GSh-23-2 twin-barrel cannon mounted under the port side air intake, which can be replaced with a 30 mm (1.2 in) GSh-30-2 twin-barrel cannon.

Nigerian Air Force Inducts JF-17 Thunder Multirole Combat Aircraft
Nigerian Air Force Inducts JF-17 Thunder Multirole Combat Aircraft (Photo by PAF)
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