User testing of the three JF-17 Block II fighter jets is underway with Nigerian Air Force (NAF) pilots testing the aircraft in the Pakistan Aeronautics Complex (PAC).
The first of the NAF’s JF-17 Block II Thunder multi-role fighters with the serial number 2P 60 has been photographed on the ground with NAF pilots in them. Another image shows the three aircraft bearing serial numbers 2P 60, 61 and 62 parked alongside a Pakistani air force JF-17. A third image shows the JF-17 2p 60 jet in flight. The images were posted by a Nigerian defence blog on its twitter account and credited to NAF pilots.
Nigeria had inked a contract to purchase three JF-17 Block II fighter jets and the deal was formally set in motion in March 2019 when the Pakistani government's Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) approved a $184.3 million sovereign guarantee covering the delivery of three PAC/CAC JF-17 Thunder fighter jets to the Nigerian Air Force.
Delivery of the aircraft to the NAF is scheduled for November this year, its Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar had announced in March while addressing a passing out parade at the NAF Academy in Kaduna.
The Nigerian JF-17 Block II’s price tag of approximately $60 million each indicate an aircraft with an array of weapons including air-to-air and air-to-ground aircraft and guided. The bare-bones price tag of a JF-17 is expected as US$40 million.
The NAF is expected to push the aircraft into the thick of battle against Boko Haram terrorists (BHT). The air –to –ground capability of the JF-17 will be tested in terms of pin-point strikes against the BHT. The Block-II is capable of precision-strike through satellite-guided and laser-guided bombs.