The Nigeria Air Force is making forays into Space with the establishment of a new branch of military service : the Defence Space Administration, to be alligned under the department of the Nigerian Air Force. As the nation with the most satellites in orbit in Africa, the NAF is partnering with NASDRA in this endeavour.
Now, I am not against this endeavour, I actually think its a step in the right direction..but a step too big? Maybe.
My perspective in this is that we just might be putting the cart before the horse. The creation of an Air Force Defence Space Administration, while an admirable endeavour does not really resolve the defense acquisition problems and the shortcomings of the Nigerian Air Force. I mean, the NAF does not have 4th Gen combat aircrafts, the fastest and most advanced combat aircraft in the NAF inventory is a squadron of F-7N fighter jetsm of which just about half are in operable conditon. The bulk of our strike aircrafts are jet trainers reconfigured with gunpod and rockets.
One of the persistent issues facing the NAF is its inability to understand the service requirements in support of Nigeria’s war efforts. NAF acquisitions in the last decade includes the following :
Two VIP helicopters.
10 Super Mushank jet trainers from Pakistan.
Two Beechcraft King Air 350i ISR plane.
Five CH-3 Rainbow armed drone.
Three Mi-35 Hind attack helicopter.
Current Inventory of the NAF combat aircraft fleet :
16 Alpha light attack jet.
12 Mb236 jet trainer/light attack.
8 L-39 jet trainers/light attack.
8 Chengdu F-7N Airguard.
The NAF should as a matter of priority focus on tackling the platform acquisition problems of the air force because their focus in space for space’s sake is to the detriment of the service focused non a holistic array of hybrid terrestrial and conventional threats in which space plays a negligible role in this domain.
The NAF need to come to terms that space is a seperate domain and cannot be an extension of the air domain, at least at this point.