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Joel Chukwuji


More by user: wiseonemy
Created: 30th Mar 2009
Modified: 30th Mar 2009
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Joel Chukwuji
(At a Glance)
Date of Birth: Apr/23/1984
Gender: male
Place of Origin: Nigeria

60 NAF personnel in China for combat aircraft


About 60 officers and ratings of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) are in China for training preparatory to the delivery in April of the Chinese multi-role combat F-7NI and FT-7NI trainer aircraft.

The F-7NIs are a replacement for the Soviet era built MiG (Mikoyan-Guverich) -21s procured into the inventory of the Nigerian Air Force in the 80s.

The 60 include pilots and the ground crew. They are the first set of personnell to man the new aircraft.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin had in January told journalists that the NAF would take delivery of the Chinese 12 multi-role combat F-7NI and three FT-7NI trainer aircraft by April this year.

On september 28, 2005, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the contract for the procurement of 12 Chinese multi-role combat F-7NI and three FT-7NI trainer aircraft for the use of the NAF. The total cost of the contract was put at $251,377,395 (about $251.4 million).

The contract also has provision for supply of the aircraft associated training equipment and spares.

Outgoing Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF, Group Captain Mohammed Abdul-Wahab told that “the personnel are already in China for training. In fact, all the men and women needed to man the aircraft are in China. They are expected to come back before the delivery of the aircraft.”

Sources said that the first batch of trainees on the new aircraft left over four months ago. The last batch, mainly the engineering crew, left early this month (March).

The period of their training varies from three to six months.

Already, the Tactical Air Command (TAC) of the NAF in Makurdi, Benue State which is designated the mother base of the multi-role combat and trainer aircraft is putting the structures in place for their eventual delivery.

Even by May 2006, the NAF had put in place the accommodation for the Technical Assistance Team (TAT) from the manufacturers who would be on ground to help the NAF combat pilots understand the dynamics of the new aircraft. The NAF is also providing structures for the installation of new navigational equipment and facilities; building a simulator for training of the pilots and engineers including the installation of a liquid oxygen plant.

The aircraft are being manufactured by a consortium of aircraft manufacturing subsidiaries under the Aviation Industries of China I (AVIC I) which is a part-owner of the China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC), China’s military aircraft manufacturing conglomerate.

AVIC I & II each hold 50% of CATIC shares. The subsidiaries under AVIC I include Chengdu Aircraft Company, Xian Aircraft Company, Nanchang Aircraft Company, Shenyang Aircraft Company (SAC) and their National Trade Bureau.

Nigeria last took delivery of such new inventory of combat jets in the late seventies and early eighties. But these combat jets are now mothballed. They include the MiG (Mikoyan-Guverich) -21 and the Sepecat Jaguar. Currently, Nigeria’s lead fighter is the light combat-trainer, the Alpha jets.

Marshal Petinrin was full of praise to the Chinese for adherring to schedule even though Nigeria has not fully paid up the cost of the contract.

According to him, “the contract in question is ongoing and we have not even paid up to a quarter of the contract sum. But the Chinese company has agreed to supply the aircraft. In fact, the aircraft would be supplied by April (this year). Therefore, the Chinese company has shown good faith and commitment to the execution of the contract even before full payment.”



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