Nigeria is likely to buy JF-17 Thunder multi-role combat aircraft from Pakistan. The oil-rich West African country has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that covers the sale of the aircraft.
The deal is expected to be finalised in November, during the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar in Karachi, IHS Jane’s reported quoting a senior official of Pakistan’s Defence Export Promotion Organisation.
The total number of aircraft that Nigeria might be ordering is still not known. The official declined to reveal if Nigeria will be the first export operator of the aircraft given the fact that Myanmar too has ordered them, but from China.
Nigeria will also be acquiring Super Mushshak basic trainers. In January, Nigerian federal budget document had revealed that the country was buying three JF-17 Thunder fighters and 10 Super Mushshak aircraft.
Pakistan and China had jointly developed the aircraft and the latter has started manufacturing JF-17 (Joint Fighter) at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). The aircraft, however, uses Russia’s Klimov RD-93 turbofan jet engine with afterburner.
The aircraft has China’s PL-12/SD-10 medium-range air-to-air missiles with active radar-homing and short-range PL-7, PL-8 and PL-9. The aircraft can also be fitted with AIM-9P on its wingtip rails, the report noted. The aircraft has no in-flight refueling capability.