Nigerian Air Force interested in Airbus planes
The Nigerian Air Force has expressed interest in acquiring new aircraft from Airbus and has held discussions with the Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria on this and other matters.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao said the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is seeking to partner with the Spanish government in the areas of aircraft acquisition, training, flight operations, intelligence sharing and image analysis capability development. , and is in discussion with Airbus.
Amao hosted Spain’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Juan Ignacio Sell, at the NAF headquarters in Abuja on March 23.
Amao said a partnership with a developed country like Spain would allow the NAF to leverage the many technological skills available to address some of the technical challenges the service currently faces, particularly in intelligence gathering.
Amao said the NAF and Airbus of Spain are currently in talks to explore opportunities that may arise for the NAF, all in hopes of improving the NAF fleet. “If our interface with Airbus of Spain is anything to go by, I hope the outcome will go a long way in adding value to our current efforts in all of our theaters of operation,” he said.
Sell said his country was willing to provide solutions that would support the various operations of the NAF. He also expressed Spain’s willingness to further deepen its partnership with the NAF by posting a Defense Attaché to the Spanish Embassy in Abuja.
As early as 2016, Nigeria expressed interest in acquiring Airbus C295W light transports, with a delegation visiting Nigeria in October. In October 2019, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, hosted Airbus executives who were on a courtesy visit to Nigeria – they discussed maintenance, training and other matters. Airbus executives gave presentations on Airbus aircraft.
Nigeria’s defense budget proposal for 2022 includes funding for the purchase of a new transport aircraft and continued funding for JF-17 fighters and helicopters. Initial funding of 10.86 billion naira ($26.4 million) is budgeted for the purchase of two new King Air 360 aircraft, spare parts and ground support equipment, in part to replacing the King Air 350 which crashed in February 2021.
The FY2022 budget also includes N833.23 million in balance payments for the procurement of three JF-17 Thunder fighter jets with targeting modules from Pakistan; N1.03 billion in balance payments for two AW109 Trekker helicopters from Leonardo and N2.93 billion in partial payment for the reactivation of two H215s (formerly AS332 Super Puma BI) from Airbus.
Other projects include the upgrade of three Mi-series rotorcraft; periodic depot maintenance of three L-39ZA and one C-130 aircraft, and overhaul of Gulfstream G550 and Falcon 7X VIP aircraft.