SOURCE: IDRW NEWS NETWORK
PAC’s sales and marketing director, Commodore Moazzam Piracha speaking to Spanish aviation media ( Aviacionline) confirmed that no ongoing negotiations with Nigeria for the acquisition of more Thunder fighters, in addition to the 3 units already contracted is taking place as questions are been raised inside Nigeria of the utility of this jets that have limited ability to help Nigeria battle rising insecurity, including mass school abductions in the northwest, Islamist insurgencies in the northeast and kidnappings for ransom and armed robberies nationwide.
Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has come under increasing scrutiny for its continuous military actions particularly in the Northern region, which seen has constant military offensive against terrorists, bandits, and other criminals. NAF has gained a notorious reputation for repeatedly bombing civilians and even its own Army officials in the last few military operations.
In 2017, the Nigerian Air Force “accidentally bombed” the refugee camp while targeting members of the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram killing as many as 170 civilians.
On April 26, 2021, an Air Force fighter jet on a mission against Boko Haram extremists mistakenly bombed men of the Nigerian Army, killing over 20 officers. The same year Nigerian Airforce bombed Buhari village in Yunusari Local Government Area of Yobe State where 10 people were killed and over 20 wounded.
Last year, Nigeria received six propeller-driven A-29 Super Tucano planes provided by the United States to fight insurgents. Many western Analysts believe that A-29 is the right plane to fight local Islamist terrorist groups instead of using high-speed fighter jets that can lead to the mistaken bombings of civilian areas.
Nigerian analysts have been questioning the rationale behind buying only three jets and even if it was a test buy for user familiarization and internal evaluation it could have been done on loaned JF-17s from Pakistan or China before actual purchase. The Nigerian Government has been under intense international pressure to avoid fighter jets in bombing areas controlled by Boko Haram due to the risks of Islamist terrorist groups keeping civilians as human bets or using them as shields.
Nigerian Air Force operates 8 Chengdu F-7 and 3 JF-17s that are vastly known for air superiority operations rather than to be used as ground support aircraft or in counter-insurgency roles. speculations are that 24 Aermacchi M-346 Master that was ordered last year and more A-29 Super Tucano planes on order might take over bombing roles against the Islamist terrorist groups in near future, thus limiting further cases for JF-17 even though the original plan was for 30 jets but efforts might be made to procure 8-9 more as told by Nigerian analysts to idrw.org.
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