Nigerian Air Force Purchases 50 Aircraft

Nigerian Air Force Purchases 50 Aircraft

The Nigerian Air Force announced plans to acquire 50 additional aircraft to improve its capabilities against militants in northwest Nigeria. On June 18, 2024, Air Chief Marshal Hassan Bala Abubakar, Chief of the Nigerian Forces Air Staff, made the statement while commissioning new military facilities in Katsina state, including two aircraft hangars. Marshal Abubakar explained that the new fleet will consist of 24 M-346 combat trainer planes, 12 AH-1 attack helicopters, 12 AW109 multipurpose helicopters, and two C295 transport aircraft. 

The cost of buying these 50 aircraft was not specified. The Nigerian Air Force anticipates the new addition to begin next year. Leonardo of Italy created the M-346, a light attack and trainer jet. The attack variant can carry air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, rocket tubes, and bombs. Bell Helicopter in the United States created the AH-1 Cobra, a single-engine attack helicopter. It has a tandem seat layout for the pilot and gunner and is armed with a 20-millimetre M197 Gatling weapon, rockets, and TOW missiles. 

Leonardo Italy created the AW109, a twin-engine multifunctional light helicopter. It can serve various purposes, including medical evacuation and search and rescue. Meanwhile, Airbus Defence and Space developed the C295, a versatile twin-turboprop tactical military transport aircraft. It can carry up to 71 troops or 9 tonnes of cargo.