Nigerian Troops deployed under Operation Desert Sanity have found the wreckage of an Alpha Jet aircraft in Sambisa Forest, Borno State that crashed almost a year ago.
The Nigerian Army said in a short statement on Saturday, March 26, 2022, that the aircraft (NAF 475), belonging to the Nigerian [Air Force], had gone off the radar with two crew members on board on March 31, 2021.
The Dassault Dornier Alpha jet A/E trainer and light attack aircraft was on routine mission in support of troops of in the Northern part of Nigeria before it crashed.
The military did not disclose the state of the two airmen likely due to the sensitive nature of the affair.
The Air Force announced at the time that it lost radar contact of the aircraft in the late hours of Thursday, 31 of March during an attack run against jihadist forces in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
The NAF at the time launched a rescue mission for the missing combat aircraft pilots but could not locate the wreckage or crash site of its Dassault Alpha jet A/E.
“Details of the whereabouts of the aircraft or likely cause of contact loss are still sketchy but will be relayed to the general public as soon as they become clear. Meanwhile, search and rescue efforts are ongoing,” Nigerian Air Force, spokesman Edward Gabkwet, said.
Earlier, another Dassault Alpha Jet of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) also succumbed to intense ground fire from non-state actors on Sunday, 18 July, after completing an air interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna States in Nigeria’s middle belt region.
The pilot of the downed Alpha jet, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, ejected from the aircraft, successfully evaded the bandits searching him out, and hid in a nearby settlement.
Over the past few years, several NAF aircraft had been reactivated and brought to flying status after completing a Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) on the plane to help sustained efforts to boost Air Power’s employment capability against insurgency and other security challenges.