By Greg Waldron
Nigeria’s proposed 2018 budget document confirms that the African nation will obtain the Chengdu Pakistan Aeronautical Complex JF-17 fighter.
The nation’s 2018 budget allocation document indicates that N13.1 billion ($36 million) will be earmarked as partial payment for three JF-17s. The payment will also cover support equipment and spares. This makes Nigeria the first buyer of the type to be officially named, although programme officials have long said there is strong interest for the type in the developing world.
At the Paris air show in June 2015, a Pakistani air force official told FlightGlobal that a “contract had been signed” with an Asian country.
The Asian country has yet to be officially named, but is believed to be Myanmar. Images on Chinese social media have shown a JF-17 in Myanmar air force markings. Powered by the Klimov RD-93 engine, the JF-17 is pitched as a low-cost fighter for developing world air forces. Following feedback from prospective customers, a two seat version was developed, which is now undergoing testing.
In addition to payments related to the three fighters, the Nigerian budget document earmarks funds for the acquisition of two AgustaWestland AW109 helicopters, as well as depot maintenance for two Dassault Alpha Jets and a Lockheed Martin C-130H.
Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that the Nigerian air force operates a broad inventory of 120 aircraft from a range of Western and Eastern European suppliers.