The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) marked a significant milestone on October 11, 2023, by receiving two additional Diamond-62 (DA-62) surveillance aircraft in a brief yet vibrant ceremony held in Ilorin, Kwara State. During the event, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), expressed that the journey leading to the acquisition of these two aircraft began approximately two years ago when the Federal Government (FG) allocated funds for the procurement of four Diamond-62 aircraft for the NAF. Out of this allotment, the first two aircraft had already been delivered between February and July 2023, with the remaining two being officially welcomed during the ceremony. The initial two DA-62 aircraft received earlier in the year had already been deployed to operational theaters to support the ongoing efforts aimed at restoring peace and stability in troubled areas within the country.
Air Marshal Abubakar stressed the importance of discipline and professionalism among the air and ground crew responsible for these aircraft and urged them to adhere to recommended maintenance and operational practices outlined by the Original Equipment Manufacturer. Furthermore, he encouraged the personnel to harness the capabilities of these aircraft to enhance the NAF’s operational efficiency. Air Marshal Abubakar lauded the FG for its dedication to strengthening the NAF and other services, underlining that the reception of these two additional DA-62 aircraft affirmed the government’s sincere commitment to bringing peace to previously troubled regions. He also revealed that the NAF was set to receive additional platforms in the near future, including the M346FA aircraft, AW109 Trekker light attack helicopters, AH-1Z Super Cobra, T-129 ATAK helicopters, and the King Air 360i Beechcraft aircraft.
The DA-62’s suitability for robust missions in combat operations. He further emphasized that assigning the DA-62s to the 303 Medium Airlift Group in Ilorin would significantly enhance the unit’s operational capabilities. As part of the reception ceremony for the two additional DA-62 aircraft, the Nigerian Air Force released a photograph showcasing all four DA62s, equipped with electro-optical systems beneath their noses, at the General Tunde Idiagbon International Airport in southern Ilorin, Kwara State, the base of the NAF’s 303 Medium Airlift Group. The DA-62s with the 303 Medium Airlift Group would fortify its support for combat operations. The DA62, powered by two piston engines, boasts a seven-seat configuration and a maximum range of 2,385 kilometers with the addition of an auxiliary fuel tank, according to Diamond Aviation.
The Diamond DA62 is a twin-engine light aircraft produced by Diamond Aircraft Industries and first announced in March 2012. The DA62 MPP is a Multi-Purpose Platform” variant intended for law enforcement, search and rescue, and surveillance operations. The fully composite DA62 MPP features the latest in tracking and sensor technology and sets the benchmark as the most cost-effective, powerful and versatile airborne platform in its class today. The DA62 MPP has been specially designed for carrying multi-functional aerial sensors, like EO/IR cameras, land and sea radars, COMINT solutions, airborne laser scanners or large format digital aerial cameras, and more. Mission kits can be mounted on specific hard points located on the nose and belly of the aircraft as well as in the cabin and nose luggage compartments. A stronger Universal Nose carries EO/IR cameras up to 20 inch and 60 kg.