The Most Powerful Air Force in Africa : Its Not What You Think.

The presence of French Mirage fighters in Chad was brought to light when a french fighter jet hit the wall of the airport during takeoff under unknown reasons. There was a post fire impact. The two occupants ejected safely. The navigator (NOSA) was injured to one leg.

There is at least a Squadron of the Dassault Mirage 2000D fighters based in Chad, taking part of Operation Barkhane, an anti-insurgent in the Sahel region. This means technically Chad has the most powerful Air Force in sub-sahara Africa. Unlike the Americans, France does not shy away from protecting her Protege. This commitment has been demonstrated before.

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When Libya attacked Chad and seized territory during the Chad-Libya war in 1987, Libyan Tu-22s and Il-76 cargo planes acting as bombers struck several towns near the 16th parallel, in particular Faya-Largeau. The Il-76s dropped dozens of pallets of bombs on a palm grove near the town, killing several local people.

The French Air Force responded  swiftlty. They restricted air traffic over Chad. No aerial traffic was allowed in an area that extended from the 16th parallel to the outskirts of the capital N’Djamena.

But the Libyan Air Force stubbornly wouldn’t budge. French troops fired a HAWK missile and shot down a Libyan Tu-22 bomber over N’Djamena. Two days later, an unknown aircraft flew over Chad toward the capital. It was flying at subsonic speed and not responding to radio calls.

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French Mirage 2000D fighter planes in flight over N’Djamena, Chad.

A patrol of French Mirage F.1C fighters flew to intercept. The patrol leader identified the plane as an Il-76 identical to those that had bombed Faya-Largeau. The Mirages engaged. This was in 1987. Relations between France and Chad is stronger today than it has ever been.

French commitment to maintaning her assets around Nigerian northern periphery is unshakeable. For example, when a French Mirage 2000D fighters crashed in Niger in 2014, the French Air Force replaced the Mirage 2000 that crashed in Niger with four aircraft, bringing its fighter aircraft detachment in the country to full strength within weeks.

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A French Mirage 2000D on a dusty airstrip in Chad.
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A Mirage 2000D prepare to takeoff on a combat mission

The new Mirage 2000, from Escadron de Chasse 1/33 ‘Navarre’, arrived at Base Aerienne 172 at N’Djamena International Airport in Chad on June 22, according to the French ministry of defence.

Also Rafale fighters that previously operated from Bamako during the French intervention in Mali never returned home, they have been moved to N’Djamena and remain there.

France also has two General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles flying from Niamey in Niger in support of Operation Serval. They began flying from Niamey on January 15 and are operated by Escadron de Drones 1/33 ‘Belfort’, which also flies the Harfang UAV over Mali. Various Gazelle, Puma and Tiger helicopters also support Operation Serval.

Suffice to say Chad has at its disposal one of the most advanced fleet of fighter jets in the world. No contest.

What assets does the Nigerian military have to counter such potential threats?



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French Air Force 2 seat Rafale recon version after arrival in Chad.


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French Air Force 2 seat Rafale recon version after arrival in Chad.
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A Rafale fighter taxi for takeoff from its base in N’Djamena
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Four Rafale fighters line up for takeoff from its base in N’Djamena
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Four Rafale fighters line up for takeoff from its base in N’Djamena
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A Rafale fighter pilot is assisted down from his aircraft after returning from a reconnaissance mission.



16 Replies to “The Most Powerful Air Force in Africa : Its Not What You Think.”

  1. Let me elaborate….

    the NAF has sophisticated cutting edge top of the line F-7 fighter jets.

    and 16 Roland air defence systems.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. also we have guns… lots of guns.

      blowpipe and strella II MANPAD.

      we completely safe. Nothing to worry about.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. In your own honest opinion, how long do you think it’ll take France to decimate our current air force or Navy?


  3. Trigger, glad you are here. Respects sir.

    As far as I am concerned, Nigeria does not have an Air Force. France will destroy NAF (if it shows up for a fight) in less than an hour.

    God wake up Nigeria.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. No one truly knws d capability of the Nigerian military, cos of its secrecy…who knws if there’d been some hidden weapon in its armoury dats keepin them frm sourcing weapons frm outside


  5. The French Air Force will institute a blockade of Nigerian airspace in as little as one hour. This no fly zone can stretch as far as the range of the type of aircraft they use in effecting the blockade. Anything aircraft we put in the sky will be blotted out in minutes. It will be a very embarrassing moment for Nigeria.


  6. Oga Prime you cannot hide what you don’t have. Having a weak airforce can be forgivable if there is some level of air defense systems. A country with a near extinct airforce without a credible air defense system is a joke. It’s hard to believe the state of the Nigerian Air Force despite a decade of war.


  7. Oga Prime Sir, Nigeria does not have any secret weapon anywhere, we simply don’t have anything aside the venerable Alfas, L-39s and the F-7 ‘Flying Coffins’ for manned aircraft’s. I can list 10 African countries (whose GDP are same or slightly more than that of Lagos) that can ‘waste’ NAF under one hour not to talk of France, a world power.

    God wake Nigeria


  8. Very embarrassing, but more by more importantly, VERY DANGEROUS and SUICIDAL as bit by bit, the security architecture of Africa in general and West Africa in particular have changed over the past decade. 4th Gen fighters and other advance platforms that used to be fielded only by the North Africans, Middle Easrerns and Eastern European forces are now commonplace in Sub Saharan African forces. A decade ago, how many West African militaries had Special Forces , Recce aircrafts, drones etc? I’m afraid that the same way Nigeria refused to invest in preoaratiins for CT/COIN, until Boko Haram seized territory and killed 1000s is sane way she has refused to prepare for Aerial warfare. Reason??? ‘IT CANNOT HAPPEN HERE SYNDROME’.

    The Giant is asleep

    Liked by 1 person

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