- FG buys 36 brand new platforms for NAF in 5 years
In its determination to boost the nation’s air power, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has invested an estimated $1.2 billion in the procurement of aircraft, armament, munitions and other armament since inauguration in 2015, investigation has revealed.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) had disclosed that between 2015 and now, the Federal Government had procured a total of 36 brand new aircraft of assorted brands for the Service. While the NAF has since taken delivery of 21 of the attack platforms, 15 others are being expected within the year as procurement processes have been completed.
Among the aircraft acquired within the period under review, were 10 Super Mushshak, 5 Mi-35M Helicopter Gunships, 2 Bell 412 Helicopters, as well as 4 Agusta 109 Power Helicopters. The 15 others being expected comprise 12 Super Tucano attack aircraft from the United States (U.S.), and 3 JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighter aircraft from Pakistan.
This is in addition to 20 previously-grounded aircraft that had been reactivated within the same period. A highly-placed government official, who spoke in confidence with New Telegraph, since he was not authorised to do so, said the huge investment in the procurement of aircraft, munitions and armament, was an indication of government’s determination to end the almost 11 yearold terror war in the North East.
The source said: “An Mi- 35M helicopter gunship is in the range of $30 to $35 million.
That is about the high-end. “But you know, like the Super Tucano being expected this 2020, is costing Nigeria about $465 million. “I’m talking about the 12 Super Tucano attack aircraft being expected, including so many other things that are part of it like armament, night capability, guided munitions and all of that; that is entire package. “It is not just the aircraft.
The same thing with the Mi-35M helicopter gunship, which I said earlier costs between $30 million and $35 million.” Another source, who spoke in similar vein, said The unrelenting bombardment of suspected terrorists’ locations by the NAF in the ongoing counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations in the North-East, has continued to push the enemies of state to the fringes of Lake Chad and others. “Nigerians, and indeed the international community, must understand the fact that a lot of gains have been made against the combined wicked attempts by BHTs (Boko Haram Terrorists) and the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) faction, to undermine our internal security.
“The minimum the authorities expect from Nigerians is total support, encouragement and prayers for gallant troops, who have continued to engage these non-state actors, to demonstrate their patriotism and dedication to national cause.”