The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on Thursday officially handed over three JF-17 Thunder aircraft to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) as a gift on their 57th anniversary.
The aircraft were handed over to the NAF by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra during a ceremony to celebrate the occasion.
Minister of Defence of Nigeria Maj Gen (Rtd) Bashir Magashi was the Guest of Honour at the ceremony, representing the president, whereas Air Marshal Syed Noman Ali, Vice Chief of the Air Staff of Pakistan was invited to attend the ceremony as the NAF’s special guest.
Maj Gen (retd) Magashi expressed his gratitude to Pakistan and the PAF for the sustained bilateral cooperation and partnership between the two countries to enhance the Nigerian air forces’ capabilities.
He said it would go a long way to meet Nigeria’s security challenges. “We are happy and excited on the addition of JF-17 fighter aircraft from Pakistan,” he said.
Air Marshal Syed Noman Ali said the day would remain “a historical landmark” for Pakistan’s JF-17 program, adding that it was also a reflection of the strong military cooperation and mutual trust shared between Nigeria and Pakistan.
He expressed confidence in the JF-17 aircraft, saying that its unique fighting capabilities would prove to be a potent platform in addressing the security requirements of Nigeria. He also assured the Nigerian major general that the PAF and PAC Kamra would continue to provide support to the NAF in meeting its requirements.
The PAC Kamra delivered the aircraft to the NAF as per the scheduled timelines earlier this year in March, despite the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.