With almost all of Nigeria’s frontline air defence fighter jets now in China, the country’s airspace is now literally unguarded.
Recently, seven out of the remaining nine F-7 Chengdu AirGuard fighter jets in the Nigerian Air Force was deployed to China for deep maintenance says the Chief of Air staff, Sadique Abubakar.
The two remaining aircraft left in Nigeria are also undergoing extensive rehabilitation program to extend their service life.
Nigeria only have nine F-7 AirGuard fighter jets, though the country acquired fifteen units in 2009.
Several of the aircraft have suffered attrition due to various factors most especially accidents.
With all the fleet now undergoing maintenance, Nigeria’s airspace is now protected by a few obsolete Roland air defence missile system.
The Roland air defence missile system is thoroughly outdated and is irrelevant in today’s modern battlefield conditions.
Nigeria also possess some Russia-made man portable air defence missile system like the Strela, and a handful of Air defense guns.
Nigeria’s other aircraft fleet is the Dassault Dornier Alpha jets which are not capable of Air defense missions as they lack even basic radar and missiles.
Thus, as the F-7s are unavailable, Nigeria will rely on the new jf-17 Thunder aircraft soon to be delivered by Pakistan.
Although, Nigeria is not faced with any credible aerial threat at the moment, as the neighbors don’t have the capacity to mount an aerial offensive against Nigeria.