Pakistan on Friday handed over three JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft to Nigeria in a ceremony held at Nigerian Airforce (NAF) base Makudri.
The aircraft were handed over by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Kamra to NAF, Radio Pakistan reported.
Vice Chief of the Air Staff Pakistan Air Force Air Marshal Syed Noman Ali attended the ceremony as the special guest. The Nigerian side was represented by Defence Minister Maj Gen (retd) Bashir Magashi.
Speaking on the occasion, Air Marshal Syed Noman Ali said, “Today’s event is not only a historical landmark for Pakistan’s JF-17 programme, but is also a reflection of the strong military cooperation and mutual trust between Nigeria and Pakistan.”
He assured that PAF and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex will continue to provide support to the Nigerian airforce in helping it meet its requirements.
Addressing the ceremony, Maj Gen (retd) Magashi expressed his gratitude to Pakistan and PAF for the bilateral cooperation and partnership for enhancing the capabilities of the Nigerian armed forces to meet growing security challenges.
“We are happy and excited on the addition of JF-17 fighter aircraft from Pakistan,” he remarked.
Military experts have long been comparing JF-17 Thunder with Rafale aircraft but Air Vice Marshal (retd) Shahzad Chaudhry, while sharing his views in Express News talk show earlier this year, said Rafale could be compared with F-16 but it had no one-to-one comparison with even JF-17.
He said that Rafale didn’t bring any new technology to the region but the similar tech already existed in F-16 and SU-30. Similar issues was also with Tejas and also low lobbing resulted in its ignorance by NAF.
Chaudhry said that JF-17’s role was completely different than Rafale’s and the latter’s comparison will be made with F-16 as it had a similar role that of Rafale. “For the airspace that we have to defend, F-16s, JF-17s and other platforms emerge in an integrated shape as a formidable force and it was demonstrated in February 2019,” he said.
“The Indian Air Force is the same; the Pakistani Air Force is the same but Pakistan Air Force better demonstrated its combined, synergetic and integrated capability,” Chaudhry had said.