The Nigerian Air Force in a bid to attain self sufficiency in the maintenance of aircraft needed for training of fighter pilots has successfully reconfigured two demilitarized Alpha Jets for combat roles in the North East.
Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, Director of Airforce Public Relations and Information on Tuesday made the disclosure in his statement, he said; “The Nigerian Air Force, in its bid for increased self-reliance, has successfully reconfigured 2 demilitarized Alpha Jet in its inventory that were hitherto acquired without weapon delivery capability.
He added that; “The 2 aircraft are among the 4 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 East.” continuing in his statement, he said the aircrafts could not be deployed to the theatre of Operation prior to now because of the inherent weaponry delivery deficiency it suffered hence limited for training purposes.
In the statement, the Director of Airforce public Relations and Information added that; “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”. He continued that “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 – $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. The model worked on ground, and has since been mounted on the Alpha Jets, and test flown successfully.”
“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, 000.00 compared to what
would be required to have it done abroad” Captain Ayodele concluded.