Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) has approved issuance of sovereign guarantee certificate for the sale of three JF-17 Thunder fighter jets to Nigerian Air Force for an estimated cost of $184.3 million.
Nigeria had earlier signed a contract with Pakistan for the purchase of 3 JF-17 jets making it the second international customer of the jet after Myanmar. There were reports earlier this month that the first batch of six FC-1 Xiaolong (Chinese designation of JF-17 Thunder) multirole combat aircraft was delivered to the Myanmar Air Force (MAF).
Once delivered, the Nigerian Air Force will use JF-17 in military operations against militants in Northern part of the country.
The PAC JF-17 Thunder/CAC FC-1 Xiaolong is a lightweight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed jointly by China’s Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) and the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). Its designation “JF-17” by Pakistan is short for “Joint Fighter-17”, while the designation and name “FC-1 Xiaolong” by China means “Fighter China-1 Fierce Dragon”.
The JF-17 can be used for aerial reconnaissance, ground attack and aircraft interception. It can deploy diverse ordnance, including air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles, and is armed with a 23 mm GSh-23-2 twin-barrel autocannon.
Powered by a Guizhou WS-13 or Klimov RD-93 afterburning turbofan, the aircraft has a top speed of Mach 1.6. It conducted its maiden flight in 2003.
The JF-17, configured by PAC for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), was brought into service in 2010. PAF currently operates more than 80 JF-17s. The fighter was also pitched for export to Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka and Qatar.