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NAF to take delivery of six fighter jets from Italy by end of 2024

NAF to take delivery of six fighter jets from Italy by end of 2024
April 20
13:44 2024

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is expected to take delivery of six M-346 fighter aircraft before the end of 2024.

In November 2023, NAF struck a deal with Messrs Leonardo, an Italian defence company, for the supply of 24 M-346 fighter aircraft.

The deal is reportedly worth around €1.2 billion.

On Wednesday, Claudio Sabatino, the vice-president of the Italian company, visited NAF headquarters in Abuja and met with Hasan Abubakar, the chief of air staff.

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In a statement by Edward Gabkwet, NAF spokesperson, Sabatino was quoted to have assured Abubakar of the timely delivery of the first batch of the aircraft.

Sabatino said further agreement between NAF and the company would be necessary to complete some aspects of the projects.

He added that after the final agreement, the maintenance of the aircraft fleet would not constitute a challenge as there is a binding agreement for the 25-year maintenance support.

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Sabatino disclosed that the manufacturing of the aircraft fleet has reached an “appreciable state”.

On his part, Abubakar commended the company for the “assurance of long-term maintenance support” for the aircraft fleet.

The NAF chief urged the Italian company to set up a maintenance hub in Nigeria to serve the needs of its African clients.

“Reflecting on the journey thus far, Air Marshal Abubakar also acknowledged the challenges overcome and expressed optimism for the future trajectory of the partnership,” the statement reads.

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“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.”

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