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Nigerian Air Force to operate JF-17 fighters in 2020.

| 2020

The Nigerian Air Force will take delivery of its JF-17 Thunder fighter jets in November 2020, according to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.

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Nigerian Air Force to operate JF 17 fighters in 2020 Pakistani JF-17 (Picture source: Wikipedia)

Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar said that over the last four and a half years, the Nigerian Government facilitated an unprecedented increase in the number of aircraft available for air operations, bringing the aircraft serviceability rate from 35% in July 2015 up to 82% as at February 2020. The Air Force is in the process of acquiring the JF-17 Thunder fighter and the A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft. The JF-17 is due to arrive in Nigeria in November 2020, while the Super Tucanos are expected to be inducted into service by 2022.

The country has three JF-17s on order but more may be acquired from Pakistan to replace or supplement its F-7Ni fleet – a third of its 15 F-7Ni/FT-7Ni aircraft have been lost in crashes. Nigeria also bought Super Mushshak trainers from Pakistan. The NAF earlier this month took three new aircraft into service: two armed AW109 helicopters from Italy’s Leonardo and one Mi-171 from Russia. Another Mi-171 is expected, along with two more AW109s (to date, four AW109s have been delivered as the NAF continues to expand its fleet).

The PAC JF-17 Thunder), or CAC FC-1 Xiaolong, 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 automatic cannon. Powered by a Guizhou WS-13 or Klimov RD-93 afterburning turbofan, it has a top speed of Mach 1.8. The JF-17 is to become the backbone of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), complementing the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon at half the cost.[5] The PAF inducted its first JF-17 squadron in February 2010. In 2015 Pakistan produced 16 JF-17s. In 2016, Pakistan was believed to have the capacity to produce 25 JF-17 per year. 58% of the airframe is Pakistani and 42% Chinese/Russian-origin.

Nigerian Air Force to operate JF 17 fighters in 2020 2 Official picture of one of the Nigerian JF-17 fighters (Picture source: Twitter account of Defense News Nigeria)

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