Dassault Donnier Alpha Jet. The Fighter Nigeria Sends to War.

If Nigeria goes to war, there is one aircraft Nigeria will most rely on for strike and interdiction missions; that aircraft is the Dassault Donnier Alpha jet.

Though 34 years in service, the NAF still relies heavily on this fighter-trainer plane.

The Alpha Jet was acquired in the eighties as a two seater jet trainer. It’s modular designed meant that pilots could fly and practice weapons firing. Because of its relative versatility, ease of maintainers and the relative absence of a comparable adversarial airpower in West Africa, there was little incentive for Nigeria expand its strike planes with 4th gen aircrafts, rather Nigeria acquired two squadrons of the German light ground attack version of the Alpha. The German version is identified by its needle Sharp nose accommodating more advanced avionics and sensors, including a Doppler radar navigation system. In all about 24 of these light attack aircraft was acquired by the NAF.

Fighter pilots boarding their A-Jet during combat operations in Nigeria’s northeast.

PERFORMANCE

Because of its light weight, the Alpha Jet is highly maneuverable and has a top speed of just over 600km/h. Underpowered for a frontline fighter but very effective for close air support and interdiction operations, .

Alpha Jet cockpit.
Alpha Jet cockpit.
An accentuated photo showing the master Arm controls buttons of the Alpha Jet.

The German built B variant is an advanced version optimised for ground attack . It features an intergrated weapons system (laser range finder, inertial navigation units Headss-Up Display) allowing it to fulfil either weapons systems training missions or ground attack missions with greater accuracy.

Two NAF ground attack Alpha- Jet B lined up on the runway of an airbase.
Alpha jets in formation over the skies of northeast Nigeria. The Alpha Jet has a range of 1330nm / 2,600 Km (external tanks).

Maximum payload

2200 kg.

Armament

  • 30mm cannons
  • 250Ib/500Ib bombs
  • Mantra F1 pod
  • Belongs cluster munition
Weapons crew installing 250 Ib bombs on the weapons pylon of the Alpha Jet.
Weapons crew installing 250 Ib bombs on the weapons pylon of the Alpha Jet.
The Alpha jet carries 30mm cannons and rocket pods.
THE Alpha Jet also carries smart munitions.
Weapons and maintanance crews getting an Alpha Jet ready for flight.
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