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Insecurity: FG to purchase to 24 fighter jets from Italy

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The federal government has revealed plans to acquire 24 fighter aircrafts from Italy’s Leonardo (LDOF.MI) to update its fleet and strengthen its air force.

Air Force representative Air Vice Marshal Edward Gabkwet announced this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

The jets will be delivered to the country in four groups of six aircraft each, the air force stated.

Nigeria expects to receive the first set of six M-346 fighter jets by the end of the year, according to the statement from Gabkwet.

This development came after Claudio Sabatino, Vice President of Leonardo, met with Nigeria’s air force chief, Hasan Abubakar, in Abuja on Wednesday.

In a statement from Edward Gabkwet, spokesperson for the NAF, Sabatino was reported to have guaranteed Abubakar timely delivery of the first batch of aircraft.

Sabatino also mentioned that an additional agreement between NAF and the company would be required to finalize certain aspects of the projects.

Furthermore, he stated that following the final agreement, maintaining the aircraft fleet would not be a problem due to a binding 25-year maintenance support agreement.

What you should know

Nigeria is striving to enhance its capabilities to combat insurgency, particularly in the northeast of the country, where militants from Boko Haram and the ISIS regional affiliate are active.

Additionally, issues of kidnapping and banditry are widespread throughout the nation.

For his part, Abubakar lauded the company for its “commitment to long-term maintenance support” for the aircraft fleet.

The NAF chief also encouraged the Italian firm to establish a maintenance hub in Nigeria to cater to the needs of its African customers.

  • “Reflecting on the journey thus far, Air Marshal Abubakar also acknowledged the challenges overcome and expressed optimism for the future trajectory of the partnership.
  • “Envisioning the operational impact that the M-346 fighter aircraft, Air Marshal Abubakar underscored its dual role in bolstering training capabilities and augmenting operational effectiveness in diverse mission scenarios.
  • “Moreover, the prospect of close air support, air interdiction, and tactical reconnaissance as well as advanced pilot training capabilities inherent in the M-346 fighter aircraft heralded a new prospect for NAF’s operational versatility,” the statement reads.

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