Nigeria’s Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance and Networking Capabilities.

The NAF is to increase its fleet of ISR aircrafts and networking capabilities. Both are necessary prerequisites for the application of modern air power.

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In 2010 Nigeria took delivery of two ATR-42 Maritime Patrol Plane from the Italian company Alenia Aeronautics.
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The twin-turboprop took off from the Italian air base in Brindisi, Italy for the Nigerian air force’s in Benin City, Edo State, by the Italian company Alenia Aeronautics.
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Selex Galileo provided the aircraft’s airborne tactical observation and surveillance mission management systems, Gabbiano T200 surface search radars and EOST-45 electro-optical sensors.
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The mission system features four operator stations with high-definition, 22-inch monitors and touch-screen control panels, part of Leonardo’s Airborne Tactical Observation and Surveillance mission system,
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Once airborne it can relate target coordinates to air and ground units within seconds via satellite link.
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Hence networking of combat assets has become an increasingly common practice in the Nigerian Air Force as these airborne radar platforms are ubiquitous in areas of operations, and persist on station for many hours.
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Pilots run checklist as they prepare for take off.
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An ATR-42 assigned to the reconnaissance wing of the Tactical Air Command takes off for a surveillance mission to find the Dapache school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists.
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The aircraft is able to carry out 9 hour missions up to 200 nautical miles from bases in northeast Nigeria.
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Anti-submarine warfare. The aircraft has four pylons for torpedoes if required.
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The company is also upgrading two of the Nigerian air force’s G222 transports with surveillance capabilities.
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In 2014 Nigeria greatly expanded ISR assets with the aquisition of threeSuper King 35i aircrafts.
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It did not take long for the NAF to fit the aircraft with an electro-optical/infrared sensor ball turret under the fuselag, allowing it to carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
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The Tactical Reconnaisance Squadron was born. Nigeria’s four Super King is an important component of the Nigerian Air Force’s ISR ‘constellation’ providing conventional LRMP capabilities and an electronic reconnaissance capability.
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A Super King 350i fitted with an electro-optical/infrared sensor ball turret unddr the fuselag.

It didnt take long for the aircraft to leave its mark on the battlefield.

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A station operator in a Super King 350i surveillance plane. 

The distant whine of small airplane engines sounded overhead. An unarmed civilian plane flew by.

Then suddenly, a small twin-engine fighter — an Alpha Jet — came screaming over the horizon. Radioed the position of the Boko Haram fighters by the unarmed plane — actually a King Air 350 surveillance aircraft — the Alpha Jet unleashed a barrage of rockets on the concealed ambush, followed by 250-pound bombs and strafing runs.

The Toyotas were all destroyed and the ambush force thrown into chaos. Nigerian ground forces followed close on the heels of the jet and chased off the survivors. They counted 15 bodies and two abandoned rocket-propelled grenades.

Excerpt from Alpha Jets has Flown in Brutal Wars Across Africa.

High Altitude Long Endurance UAVs offer an important high footprint persistent platform for ISR and networking payloads for the NAF. The Nigerian Air Force

The first application of drones in combat in Nigeria was in 2013. Today Nigeria produces its own drones. These domestically built drones now make up an important part of the Nigerian Air Force arsenal.

A decade of extensive operational work with drones against Boko Haram has given the Nigerian military tremendous experience with the architecture, design, and employment of UAV technology.

Nigeria today is a leader in the application of drone technology on the battlefield in Africa. Now this was borne out of necessity than innovation. Countries like Nigeria, with huge investment capacity and ongoing military conflicts have obvious advantages in the ability to develop drones, and to develop ways of using them for strategic purpose. Though Nigerian made drones are still rudimentary relative to what is obtainable in the West, the need for airpower in the campaign against Boko Haram has prompted a massive wave of innovation.

The Nigerian Air Force is now pushing the limits of drone innovation when in February 2018 it announced plans to indigenously develop an armed unmanned aerial vehicle. The feasibility of this is uncertain, but nevertheless as Nigeria domestic drone program expands, UAVs will occupy an increasing fraction of ISR roles historically performed by manned platforms.

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A NAF Aerostar UAV. Five Aerostar drones were acquired from Israel by the late Yar’adua for use in the Niger Delta. They quickly fell into disrepair and were left to rot for years. In 2017 however two Aerostar drones were repaired and brought back into service.
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An Israeli made Aetostar UAV.
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A GULMA Tactical UAV lifts off the ground. The Gulma is the first drone designed and built in Nigeria.
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In February 2018 the NAV unveiled the Tsaigumi UAV, the second drone built by Nigerian engineers. The drone will be used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations over land and sea.
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Five new pilots received their wings following about two years of training at the 401 Flying Training School (FTS) in Kaduna on 2 March,2018. After completing an initial phase on commercial UAVs, the pilots trained for 10 months on the NAF’s CH-3A tactical UAV, logging close to 100 hours on the armed drone.
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Nigeria is one of the few nations in Africa with an indigenous unmanned UAV pilot flight training school.
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