Bring Back Our Ship.

The Nigerian Navy has in recent years commissioned several domestic designed and built ships by the Naval Dockyard in Victoria Island and Naval Shipyard in Port Harcourt.

That the Nigerian Navy is now in a position to build some class of ships to protect the nations territorial waters is remarkable.

There was a time when Nigeria seemed to be in the move to becoming a sea power in military terns and maritime power in international trade. In the eighties the Nigerian Navy was the most powerful in black Africa, second only to the Egyptian Navy.

The Nigerian Navy ordered several missile armed frigates, most notably the Meko Class Frigate NNS Aradu, fast attack craft, mine-countermeasure vessels (MCMVs), and landing ships, among others. Nigeria augmented this force with several missile launching platforms such as the MK 9 Corvettes and two missile crafts armed with aspid missiles.

NNS Aradu in Brazilian waters.

The Nigerian Navy also had a credible Air Arm with 13 Augusta Westland Lynx helicopters, 4 anti-submarine warfare AW101 helicopters and Agusta 108 Power helicopters. The Navy also had about 20 recce and attack helicopters.

The necessity for a floating helicopter base for the NN’s Air Arm becomes necessary.

There was no question, by the 1980’s the Nigerian Navy was easily the most powerful in the history sub-sahara Africa.

Unfortunately, Nigeria’s low industrial production capacity and technological base could not provide the crucial back-up required to maintain such high technology-based weapons and associated systems. Consequently, the resulting low ship availability and equipment reliability diminishes operational efficiency in the NN.

Enter 2018 it is sad that no Nigerian warship in service carries missiles. No anti-ship missile, no anti-aircraft missiles. What is the point in spending hundred of millions or dollars acquiring warships and not protecting this investment with air defense weapons?

Against this backdrop it is prudent for Nigeria to bring back NNS Aradu, NNS Siri, NNS Ayam and NNS Ekun.

Combattante IIIB Fast Attack Craft

NNS At an. One of the Nigerian Navy’s three Combattante IIIB Fast Attack Craft.
NNS Siri.
Two Combattante IIIB Fast Attack Craft in a naval dockyard for repairs.

These are the only ships in the Nigerian navy with offensive armaments. Sadly these ships have remained moribund, sitting in the dockyard for years. This makes no sense knowing fully well the backbone of the Nigerian economy are sea based.

In 2016 Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok-Ette Ibas, says the Nigerian Navy needs 250 million dollars to refit its war ship, NNS ARADU, for maritime operations. That is cheap compared the risk of not been able to protect our economic assets. When NNS Aradu wad inducted into the Nigerian Navy in the 1980’s it was the most advanced warship in all of Africa. The capability of this ship is staggering.


NNS Aradu, flagship of the Nigerian Navy for over two decades.

Primary Armament : Ottomat MKI  Anti-ship missiles.

The inertial guidance Otomat is a long-range anti-ship missile providing maritime superiority over extended sea waters against high value naval targets. This over-the-horizon ship-to-ship missile has a range of 100-180 kilometers. The capabilities of the missile design solutions provided by the Otomat continue to be highly effective in today’s warfare environment by providing a credible deterrence as well as a powerful tactical striking force. These capabilities include the missile’s long range trajectory, the power of its warhead, its turbojet propulsion system, its accurate navigation based on an INS/altimeter pack and a link upgrading system, together with its terminal active radar guidance.

The excellent capabilities of the new missile (short reaction time, Fire and Forget, INS/GPS navigation, high target selection, ECCM and anti-CIWS maneuvers, warhead lethality with no collateral damage) allow the system to operate effectively in littoral warfare environments, as well as in blue waters.

NNS Aradu is armed with 12 Ottomat anti-ship missiles.

NNS ARADU is one of the three ships in the world with capabilities for simultaneous anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare. The ship also has capability for electronic warfare and naval fire support.

The Navy is an important service that protects the nation’s maritime resources and needs to be given special consideration. A decade ago attacks by Niger Delta militants resulted to the drop in Nigeria’s oil production by %40. The Navy was lucky enough to contain this attacks with inshore attacks boats. Against a powerful navy with submarines and warships with stand-off missiles, such luck will fly out the window.

Nigeria has the worlds 10th largest oil reserve with 40 billion barrels. $260 million is a small price to pay. Get Nigeria’s missile armed ships refitted and brought back to service. Nigeria will be susceptible to economic blackmail unless it proves it can defend its resources.


4 Replies to “Bring Back Our Ship.”

  1. The moribund stae of the Aradu should make Nigerian leaders bow their heads in shame and wear sackcloth. I leant that a former minister of Defense wt openly after taking a tour of the ship. This German built MEKO 360 is still a very formidable platform if it can be resuscitated and refurbished. It’s Aspide missiles will keep hostile Aircrafts at bay while the 180km Range of its Ottomat is a sure AA/AD to any ‘wandering’ ship. Nigeria actually wanted to buy three way back in 1980 but got just one. The remaining went to Argentina. By now, we should be boasting of at least nine of such ships (3 in each Naval Command) and a panoply of other smaller vessels (corvettes).

    I wonder what logic is behind the acquisition of a ‘gun-armed’ Chinese P-53 at millions of USD. It just dies not make any sense to me.

    Nigeria only has a Coast Guard equiped with big, high endurance ships as A NAVY WITHOUT MISSILE FIRING PLATFORMS IS NO NAVY!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. leant that a former minister of Defense “wt” openly after taking a tour of the ship.

      Did you mean to say ” WEPT” ?


  2. Oga Spirit, the Chinese offered to arm the ship’s with air defense and anti-ship missiles but the Nigerian government turned down the offer. The Chinese must have scratched their head in confusion. What sort of country spends $600 million aquiring a vessel yet refuse to spend a fraction of that amount on weapons to protect such investments. NNS Unity and NNS Centenary could be armed with attack and defensive armament by less than $50 million. We seem to forget these Chinese ships are stealth. It has a radar detection area of a ship of about 500 tons, meaning it can be detected only when its very close to the radar of an enemy.

    NNS Aradu was the pride of the Nigerian Navy and one of the most advanced warships in the world at the time. The Navy has for years been requesting for just $260 million to bring the vessel back to life. Nigeria spent $300 million in less than two months restoring democracy to Gambia yet we cannot spend on our maritime security.


  3. Apologies, I wanted to type “wept”.

    Most times, I am at loss for words as there are no logical explanation for the actions of our leaders.

    I guess someone in the Navy believes that sheer tonnage wins wars such that as soon as the enemy detects our ships, the big radar signature alone will make them turn round ‘full ahead’. They have forgotten that a simple SDB armed with one or two long range AShM (like the Iranian Navy has practised for years) will send a Frigate armed with 75mm deck gun to the bottom of the Atlantic.


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