The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra formally handed over three JF-17 Thunder aircraft to the Nigerian Air Force during a ceremony held at Nigerian Air Force base Makudri to mark the 57th anniversary of the Nigerian Air Force on Friday, a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) press release said.
Nigerian Defence Minister Major General (Rtd) Bashir Magashi was the guest of honour at the ceremony, representing the Nigerian president, whereas the PAF vice chief of the air staff, Air Marshal Syed Noman Ali, was invited to attend the ceremony as the special guest of the Nigerian Air Force.
President Muhammadu Buhari has inducted three brand new JF-17 Thunder Multi-role fighter aircraft into the inventory of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to boost its operation.
Performing the ceremony on Thursday in Makurdi during NAF 57 celebration grand finale, Buhari said that the Service has fulfilled its constitutional mandate of defending the nation’s territorial integrity.
“At this juncture, I hereby induct the JF-17 Thunder aircraft into the service of the Nigerian Air Force and our fatherland as NAF 720, 721 and 722. As you fly these machines, I wish you safe flying operations, safe skies as well as effective results,” he said.
Buhari, represented by the Minister of Defense, Retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, said that the three aircrafts would boost the operational capacity of the Service and add significant fight against terrorism, insurgency, armed banditry and other forms of criminalities.
He said that the induction of the aircraft was another step toward fulfilling one of the promises he made at the beginning of his administration, which was to improve the infrastructure and equipment dispositions of the Armed Forces.
“It is indeed fitting that the grand finale of this year’s celebration is being marked with the induction of three brand new JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter aircrafts into the inventory of the Nigerian Air Force.
Addressing the ceremony, Magashi expressed his gratitude to Pakistan and the PAF for sustained bilateral cooperation and partnership for enhancing the Nigerian Air Force’s capabilities to meet Nigeria’s security challenges.
Referring to the new induction, he said, “We are happy and excited on the addition of JF-17 fighter aircraft from Pakistan.”
Air Marshal Ali said the event was not just a historical landmark for Pakistan’s JF-17 programme, but was also a reflection of the strong military cooperation and mutual trust between Nigeria and Pakistan.
He further stated that the JF-17 aircraft, with its unique fighting capabilities, would prove to be a potent platform in addressing the security requirements of Nigeria.
Air Marshal Ali also said the PAF and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex would continue to provide all-out support to the Nigerian Air Force in meeting all its requirements.
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