Current Combat Aircraft Inventory :
- F-7Ni fighter (interceptor)
- Alpha Jet (light attack)
- L-38 Albatros (trainer/light attack)
- CH-3A Rainbow UCAV (attack drone)
- MI-24/35 helicopter gunship
Awaiting Delivery :
- Embrae Super Tucano (COIN light attack)
- JF-17 Thunder (multi role fighter)
The Nigerian Air Force is the principle agency for the projection of air power in fulfilment of the nation’s security imperatives. And despite its antique fleet of aircrafts is the only nation to have projected air power beyond its shores. The NAF have seen action in Liberia, S-Leone, Mali, and most recently in its intervention in the Gambia towards restoring democracy and the airlift of relief material to other countries in furtherance of the federal governments foreign initiatives.
Alpha light attack
The Alpha Jet is the workhorse of the Nigerian Air Force. Originally acquired in the mid 80s to train pilots, this versatile aircraft has seen service in ECOWAS missions in Liberia, S-Leone, Mali and most recently Gambia. It is the spearhead of Nigeria’s air campaign against Boko Haram in the northeast.
CH-3A Rainbow UCAV
The aquisition of five CH-3A Rainbow UCAV (unmanned combat aerial vehicle) ushered the Nigerian Air Force into a 21st century fighting force. In January 2018 Nigeria Air Force created Africa’s first ever dedicated Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle attack Squadron, partially splitting it off from the NAF in the process. This development highlights the steadily growing importance of unmanned craft within the service.
In march 2018, the Nigerian Air Force graduated its first indigenously trained unmanned aerial vehicle (UCAV) pilots.
It announced three days later that the five new pilots had received their wings following about two years of training at the 401 Flying Training School in Kaduna. 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 Chinese-made type.
MI-24/Mi-35 Helicopter Gunships
The NAF operates one of the largest and sophisticated combat helicopter fleet in Africa.
Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Aquisition and Reconnaissance. This is the one area Nigeria excels in. The NAF operates the most technologically advanced ISR capability fielded by any African country. Nigeria’s ISTAR system is structured by a network of maritime patrol aircrafts, surveillance planes, drones, and if need be a network of three Nigerian satellites in orbit.
Super King 350i ISR Aircraft
The Super King 350i surveillance is an important component of the NAF ISR network. It’s powerful sensors can pick up targets and relay target coordinates to air and ground forces in real time.
ATR-42 Maritime Patrol Aircraft
Nigeria’s Maritime patrol plane is used for tracking the movement of Boko Haram insurgents across the vast expanse of the Sambisa forest.
It typically has a flight crew of three and boosts stronger power generators for its onboard electronics.
These mini command and control centres is a step towards forming a single information space. Its ground zero for Nigeria’s Air campaign. Under the present Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Abubakar Sadique, the weapon of choice is information, because the more information they have on enemy forces, the better they are able to make decisions.