Abuja - The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has
successfully reconfigured two demilitarised Alpha Jet in its inventory.
The pair was acquired without weapon delivery capability.
The move is part of efforts to increase self-reliance.
The two aircraft are among the four Alpha Jets bought from
the United States in 2015 by the immediate past administration to enhance the
operational capability of the NAF to combat Boko Haram insurgency in the North
However, the aircraft could not be deployed to the theatre
of operation before now due to the inherent weapon delivery deficiency hence
its limited use for training purposes.
The urgent need, in recent times, to commit more NAF
platforms to Operation Lafiya Dole to enhance the success of the counter
insurgency operation necessitated the service to look inward to seek ways of
achieving its drive for self reliance through research and development.
Also read: Borno Elders Forum demands justice for terror victims
The NAF had earlier looked overseas for assistance without
much success to get the aircraft reconfigured for combat roles. A number of
vendors invited to Nigeria to assess the platforms had concluded that it would
be difficult or almost impossible to undertake the project since the Original
Equipment Manufacturer had long closed down the production line.
A few others who agreed to the possibility of having the
aircraft reconfigured to carry munitions also submitted proposals for initial
assessment fees ranging from $20 000 (about 400 000)- $30 000 before they could
come up with the actual cost of the project.
Convinced that the project would work, the NAF consequently
assembled a team of technicians to develop a feasible model for the project.
“This feat is a major research and development breakthrough
for the NAF and the nation as a huge foreign exchange saver given that the
project only cost about N400 000 compared to what would be required to have it
done abroad,” Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, Director of Public Relations and
- CAJ News