Who is to blame? The Death of Nigeria’s Aviation Defence Industry.

In the 1980’s Nigeria was among the elite few African countries with a domestic defence industry.  In 1983 the Nigerian Air Force, during its program of Aeronautical Industrial Engineering Project (AIEP) developed and built an indigenous light trainer aircraft, the ABT-18 (air beetle-18) to facilitate training.
2018-04-30 19.30.14
The Air Beetle on display in a hanger at the NAF flying training school in Kaduna.
2018-04-30 19.00.22
The Air Beetle on display in a hanger at the NAF flying training school in Kaduna.
 During this period it can be argued that Nigeria had by far the most technical capability of any African state, with the exception of South Africa.  By 1988 the Nigerian Air Force built 60 of the ABT-18 aircraft locally for its primary training program. The first by an African nation.
2018-04-30 19.00.42
By 1988 a total of …..wait for it…..60 aircraft were built and delivered to the Nigerian Air Force as trainers. Nigeria had demonstrated its capability of not only designing aircrafts,  But to mass producing them.
2018-04-30 18.59.48
By 1988 a total of …..wait for it…..60 aircraft were built and delivered to the Nigerian Air Force as trainers. Nigeria had demonstrated its capability of not only designing aircrafts,  But to mass producing them.

 

 But Nigeria was just beginning. This feat was the initial step towards enlisting Nigeria as among the few counties in the world that designs and manufacture its own aircraft. This development, if continued would have contributed immensely to Nigeria’s national development and prestige. In as little as ten years Nigeria was on track to manufacture its own combat aircraft.
2018-04-30 19.24.48
A closer look at the cockpit modest avionic suites. Remember this was 1988.
2018-04-30 19.24.20
A closer look at the cockpit modest avionic suites. Remember this was 1988.

Today that technical capability the Nigerian Air Force was wielded is DEAD ! Nigeria now imports the kind of aircraft it mass produced 35 years ago from Pakistan Rather than leverage on such a superb foundation, Nigeria, flush with oil money went on a spending spree,, acquiring aircrafts not based on threat perception, but on prestige and grandiose display of wealth and was vendor driven rather than on need basis.

The NAF within the 50 + years of its existence has operated 29 different aircraft types and weapon systems from 9 different countries. No surprise maintenance of these platforms has been a nightmare to NAF engineering due to lack of standardisation, incompatibility and interoperability.

Thirty five years later Nigeria is suffering the consequence for allowing the technical capacity it once had rot away.

Nigeria needs a domestic industrial base. The delay in the delivery of aircraft consignment in itself poses a national security threat. It’s BEEN four years and Nigeria is yet to take delivery of the three JF-17 Thunder fighter jets from Pakistan. Nigeria will not be taking delivery of the Super Tucano until 2020-2023 at best. Until then the capability gap is horrendous.

2018-04-30 19.59.13.png
In January 2018 the NAF took delivery of five Super Mushsak aircraft from Pakistan meant to enhance its training and operational efficiency.
2018-04-30 19.52.09.png
In January 2018 the NAF took delivery of five Super Mushsak aircraft from Pakistan meant to enhance its training and operational efficiency.
2018-04-30 20.02.50.png
A lavish induction ceremony was held. What a glorious day it was for the Nigerian nation.
2018-05-01 01.29.03
From left: Minister of Defence, retired Brig.-Gen Mansur Dan-Ali; Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; Chief of Defence, Gen Abayomi Olonishakin; Chairman Senate Committee on Air Force, Sen Duro Faseyi and Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Mr Bala Bantex inspecting the Super Mushshak Air Craft during the Induction Ceremony of the Super Mushshak Air Craft in Nigerian Air Force Base in Kaduna on Tuesday (8/8/17) 04142/8/8/2017/Suleiman Shauiabu/ICE/NAN
2018-04-30 19.58.41.png
The NAF had a year earlier leased five Super Mushank trainer aircraft’s from the Pakistani Air Force.

Nigerian Air Force was forced to adapt its L-39ZA trainear aircraft for combat role because the NAF is over stretched. This against a militia that has no air combat capability. Against a near peer adversary there is a high likelihood  the NAF will capitulate within hours.

Nigeria needs a domestic defense industrial base capable of providing a secure supply chain to equip and maintain the armed forces, without which the Nigerian military will inevitably be limited in terms of the scope and scale of operations it can conduct as is the case today.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s