Nigeria Joins List of Countries Buying Fighter Jets From Pakistan
Gift Olivia Samuel, Per Second News----Pakistan is set to sell no fewer than 10 basic trainer air planes to the Nigeria Air Force to train its pilots, according to Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on Saturday during a breakfast meeting with online media editors.
The CAS also disclosed that the Air Force is also expecting helicopter gun ships from the Russian federation on December 22.
Per Second News also gathered from Pakistan that Nigeria is likely to buy JF-17 Thunder multi-role combat aircraft from Pakistan. Findings indicate that Nigeria signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that covers the sale of the aircraft.
The deal was finalised in November, during the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar in Karachi, according to a senior official of Pakistan's Defence Export Promotion Organisation.
The Chief of Air Staff did not reveal the name of the planes, but Per Second News can reveal its the Super Mushshak basic trainers. In the 2016 budget it was revealed that the country was buying three JF-17 Thunder fighters and 10 Super Mushshak aircraft.
Pakistan and China had jointly developed the aircraft and the latter has started manufacturing JF-17 (Joint Fighter) at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). The aircraft, however, uses Russia's Klimov RD-93 turbofan jet engine with afterburner.
Operators of this Pakistan-made basic trainer include Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran and South Africa. Qatar too has inked a deal for the aircraft.
Super Mushshak has a service ceiling of 22,000 feet, maximum speed of 268km/h and a range of 814km. It also can be fitted with armaments weighing 300kg as external load.
Meanwhile, the CAS said that Nigerian pilots are among the most competent in the world as they have been trained in friendly countries like Pakistan, China, United States, United Kingdom, Jordan, Egypt, Russia and more,noting that the NAF organises simulatory trainings and evaluation visits of pilots without notice by the standard and evaluation group in order to equip them with the required skills.
While speaking on the recent incident at Makurdi with the Agusta 101 Presidential plane, he stated that it was not a crash but a minor accident that occurred when the plane was taxing to park, noting that the the pilots that handled the plane were well trained as they were the same set that conveyed the 21 Chibok girls to Abuja.
According to him; "Accidents like this do happen not only in Nigeria but all over the world. So it is not like the pilots were not trained. Those same pilots were the ones that picked the 21 Chibok girls that were moved out in the night. We are investigating to find out why it happened. The guys are competent, they have their rating on the air craft".
Abubakar further disclosed that in the fight to ensure security, the NAF has undertaken operational strategies which involves training the officers to have the required skills for effective performances, stating that over 700 personnel have been sent to different parts of the world to be trained.
He stressed that the objective of the operational strategy is to create an enabling environment for the officers to operate with little or no hindrances as well as to ensure that operations are taken into the energy territory to degrade the Boko Haram, adding that 13 Air planes have been reactivated with the ATR42 being the 13th set to fly before the end of the year.
He also stated that the NAF has engaged the communities through the soft core strategies by building medical outfits as well as medical outreach programs so as to gain good relationship with them.
The Chief disclosed also that the welfare of air men as well as other officers have been taken into consideration through the provision of accommodation, agricultural programs and housing schemes, adding that skill acquisition programs have been provided for the youths in the barracks as 1000 of them have been trained.
He declared further that the training for new recruits in Kaduna have been expanded from 500 to 2000 people every six months, adding that the Federal Government has supported them to build more facilities which can accomodate 3,500 people.
He stressed that NAF has signed Momerandum of Understanding with 15 Nigerian Universities to help improve on research and development, adding that they are looking for how to partner with the private sectors to take full advantage of what they produce to impact positively on the Military and the economy of the nation.