Pakistan-made JF-17 Thunder Block II jets have been spotted in Nigerian Air Force (NAF) paint scheme indicating that they could be headed to Abuja to keep up with a November 2020 delivery schedule.
Images appearing in social media show the blue-on-white round logo of the NAF on the wing of a JF-17 Thunder aircraft. Another image shows the aircraft front from a top down view showing the same logo on both wings. Tail numbers or even the Nigerian flag could not be seen.
The images were posted on November 6 courtesy of a Nigerian defence enthusiast @DefenseNigeria without ascribing any source. Accompanying posts said Nigerian pilots and ground crew have completed training in Pakistan and will soon depart for Nigeria.
In March 2019, the Pakistan government’s Economic Coordination Committee had approved a $184.3 million sovereign guarantee covering the delivery of three JF-17 Block II Thunder fighter jets to the Nigerian Air Force.
According to Pakistan media reports, jets, each costing $61.2 million apiece include a complement of missiles, laser guided bombs and targeting pods supplied by China. The aircraft-only price of the JF-17 Block II is in the region of $30-$35 million.
A Chinese industry source had told GDC during the 2019 Moscow air show that the Nigerian order was being jointly executed by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) and Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). The latter was charged with supplying weapons, targeting pods and other sensors as well their maintenance and training.
The initial batch of 3 aircraft could well be followed-up with more orders if they blend in with the requirements of the NAF, the source had said. Unconfirmed reports on social media said Nigeria is negotiating for an order of 40 more aircraft.
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