The Nigerian Air Force said it is interested in acquiring new aircraft from Airbus and has held discussions with the Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria on this and other matters.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, said the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is looking to partner with the Spanish Government in the areas of aircraft acquisition, training, air operations, intelligence sharing and capacity development in imagery analysis, and is in discussions with Airbus.
Amao had earlier in March hosted the Spanish Ambassador to Nigeria, Juan Ignacio Sell, at NAF Headquarters in Abuja.
Amao said a partnership with a developed nation like Spain would enable the NAF take advantage of the numerous technological competencies available to address some of the technical challenges the service currently faces especially in intelligence gathering.
Amao stated that the NAF and Airbus of Spain were currently in talks to explore opportunities that could be available for the NAF to tap into, all with the hope of enhancing the NAF’s fleet. “If our interface with Airbus of Spain is anything to go by, I am hopeful that the outcome would go a long way in adding value to our current efforts in all our theatres of operation”, he said.
Sell said his country was willing to provide solutions that would support the various operations of the NAF. He also expressed Spain’s willingness to further deepen its partnership with the NAF by posting a Defence Attaché to the Spanish Embassy in Abuja.
As far back as 2016, Nigeria has expressed interest in acquiring C295W light transports from Airbus, with a delegation visiting Nigeria that October. In October 2019, then Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar hosted Airbus executives who were paying a courtesy visit to Nigeria – they discussed maintenance, training, and other matters. The Airbus executives provided presentations on Airbus aircraft.
Nigeria’s 2022 defence budget proposal includes funding for the procurement of a new transport aircraft and continued funding for JF-17 fighters and helicopters. Initial funding of N10.86 billion ($26.4 million) is listed in the budget to procure two new King Air 360 aircraft, spares and ground support equipment, partly to replace King Air 350 that crashed in February 2021.
The FY2022 budget also includes N833.23 million in balance payments for procurement of three JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft with targeting pods from Pakistan; N1.03 billion on balance payments for two AW109 Trekker helicopters from Leonardo and N2.93 billion in part payment for reactivation of two H215s (formerly AS332 Super Puma BIs) from Airbus.
Other projects include the upgrade of three Mi-series rotorcraft; the periodic depot maintenance of three L-39ZA and once C-130 aircraft, and the overhaul of Gulfstream G550 and Falcon 7X VIP aircraft.