The time has come for the NAF to begin the process of replacing the Alpha Jet, which are now in their 3rd decade of service. The nation will not be at war with Boko Haram forever, and should take tentative steps to rectifying the staggering capability gap in the nation’s air force.
Now of course it will be illusory to expect the NAF to make a go for 4th generation fighters, not because it’s prohibitively expensive (afterall the nation just spent a staggering $600 million on 12 Super Tucano’s), but for reasons the general public may not be privy to.
The central requirements of a new fighter jet to replace the Alpha Jet and supplement the F-7N should be easy. The aircraft should be able to carry out offensive or defensive missions.
The aircraft will be capable of acting on its own or commanding a squadron of other weapons, including drones.
In lieu of the NAF’s dogged determination to maintain a low-cost air force, the best way for Nigeria is to go Chinese.
Enter the FTC-2000 Fighter.
The FTC-2000 offers the NAF great value for the money because it is largely an upgraded derivative to the F-7Ni, an aircraft in service with the NAF.
The FTC-2000 is equipped with a modern multi-mode radar, integrated avionics suite (with head-up displays, multi-function displays, mission computers and satellite-aided inertial navigation systems), and other onboard electronics, such as electronic countermeasure suites.
It’s mechanical flight control system and turbo jet engine should be first by its closeness to the F-7N makes it a smooth upgrade for the NAF, enabling the service to re-utilize existing logistics and maintenance infrastructure to affordably induct the FTC-2000, which – while not as sophisticated as your average 4th gen fighter, confers the NAF with modern air warfare capabilities.