The NAF is to increase its fleet of ISR aircrafts and networking capabilities. Both are necessary prerequisites for the application of modern air power.
It didnt take long for the aircraft to leave its mark on the battlefield.
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.