in Defence / Features

Alphas play key role for NAF

Posted 18 May 2017 · Add Comment

Jon Lake looks at the resurgence of the Alpha Jet for Nigeria's Air Force

At least two Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jets continue to operate out of Niamey-Diori Hamani International Airport in Niger.
Up to four have been based there since early-2013, providing close air support to troops in Mali battling terrorist groups.
Niamey, in the southwest of Niger, is close to the border with Mali. The Alpha Jets serve 206 Wing/97th Special Operations Group, based at NAF Station Port Harcourt in Rivers State.
In May 2013, soon after the Alpha Jets moved into Niamey, one crashed, killing both crew. The jet was understood to have been undertaking a routine, non-combat reconnaissance flight when it crashed near Dargol, in the Tillaberry region, close to the border with Mali and about 37 miles (60km) west of Niamey.
In recent years, the NAF Alpha Jets fleet of around 10 aircraft has been rejuvenated after money was found to overhaul them. In 2015, four examples were purchased from a US company, with three of them delivered through the UK – NAF475, NAF477 and NAF 478. It is unclear when NAF476 was delivered.
Although these aircraft had been sold to Nigeria in a demilitarised configuration, on January 26, 2016 the NAF announced that it had successfully modified the first two to carry weapons. Previously, they had only been used for training, but they have been weaponised to meet an urgent operational requirement for more strike aircraft to support Operation Lafiya Dole (literally, ‘restore peace by all means’) counter-insurgency operations against Boko Harem in the northeast of the country.
Although the NAF did not state what weapons have been integrated on to the aircraft, a photograph released of one of them, NAF475, showed what appeared to be a 68mm SNEB rocket pod and 250kg unguided bomb under the port wing.
On January 17, 2017 a NAF fighter, likely to have been an Alpha Jet, attacked and killed ‘dozens of people’, along the Nigeria-Cameroon border, after the pilot attacked a refugee camp. He apparently mistook the camp, which included several aid workers, for a Boko Haram terrorist hideout.
The Alpha Jets have been very busy since being returned to service, as several have also been involved in counter-insurgency operations against the Boko Haram militant group.
As part of Operation Lafiya Dole, NAF jets deploy to Yola Air Base in Adamawa state, which is the only air base used by fast jets in the country’s northeast.
 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Launch of the Air Mauritius Flying Academy

The Flying Academy of the Air Mauritius Institute (AMI) launched today offers pilot training for an ATPL license recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

New kid on the block is not kidding around

Allan Kilavuka became CEO of Kenya Airways’ low-cost carrier (LCC), Jambojet, in January 2019, succeeding industry veteran Willem Hondius. Kilavuka talked to Victoria Moores about how it felt to fill those shoes, as a complete

Lufthansa Technik sets up shop in South Africa

Lufthansa Technik has become the first foreign MRO provider to establish line maintenance operations in South Africa through a new contract with Comair – and it bodes well for the region. Chuck Grieve reports.

Embraer releases second quarter results

Embraer delivered 26 commercial and 25 executive (19 light and 6 large) jets during 2Q19, compared to 28 commercial jets and 20 executive (15 light and 5 large) jets in 2Q18.

The Major breakthrough for South African aviation

Cindy Lou Dale turns the spotlight on a maverick pilot who – 90 years ago – revolutionised the airways over South Africa and effectively created the country’s most famous airline.

It's good to talk why collaboration is the name of the game

With significant growth forecast across the continent’s aviation sector, Chloe Wilson reports on how the industry is tackling challenges to safety and security in African airports.

TAA SK0104311219
See us at
AVAFA20BT2207050320MEBAA BT2006260919Dubai AS BT2006211119