Nigerian Crew before JF-17 aircraft at PAC, Kamra. Image via social media

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) will formally induct its newly acquired JF-17 Thunder multi-role aircraft to add impetus to the ongoing fight against “insurgency, armed banditry and other forms of criminality” in the country.

The JF-17 thunder induction ceremony is part of the activities marking the 57th Anniversary celebration (of the Air Force) scheduled to take place in Makurdi Air Force Base (AFB) during 19-20 May 2021. This was disclosed on May 15 by the Chairman, NAF Day 2021 Organizing Committee, Air Vice Marshal Hassan Abubakar while briefing local journalists.

The induction of the JF-17 Thunder aircraft and aerial display, the Chairman said, would be take place on 20 May to mark the end of the 57th Anniversary Celebration, the NAF announced in a post on its official Facebook page.

The Nigerian Air Force has taken delivery of all three JF-17 Thunder fighters it purchased from Pakistan. On 29 April a Pakistan Air Force Il-76 transport flew into Makurdi AFB where the last of the JF-17 Block II aircraft was unloaded. The first aircraft was delivered on March 21 this year.

The three aircraft have since been re-assembled with experts from Pakistan aiding NAF crew. Pre-delivery photos put on social media by NAF crew show the registration numbers of the three acraft as  NAF-720, NAF-721 and NAF-722.

In 2018 Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) approved a $184.3 million sovereign guarantee for the sale of three JF-17 fighters, an official statement has then said.

Since mid-2020, Nigerian Air Force pilots and crew for the JF-17 have been training in Pakistan.

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