The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has recently received the first of four Diamond DA62 MPP special mission aircraft for aerial surveillance missions. This acquisition marks a significant milestone for the NAF as it seeks to enhance its capabilities to combat various security challenges facing the country.
The Nigerian Air Force selected Beechcraft King air 360i and Da-62 for its ISR requirements six months ago. The two Beechcraft King Air 360I were acquired as attrition for two Beechcraft King Air B350 that crashed last year. One aircraft (NAF 201) crashed on Sunday 21 February, 2021 while returning to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International, Abuja from Minna Airport after reporting engine failure. A second crashed on Friday 22 May, 2021 on during an official visit to the northern state of Kaduna, killing Nigeria’s army chief, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru.
The Diamond DA62 MPP special mission aircraft is a versatile platform designed for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations. It is equipped with modern sensors and avionics that enable it to gather real-time intelligence data and transmit it to ground stations for analysis and decision-making.
The aircraft’s unique features include a retractable electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor, a search radar, and a satellite communication system that enables it to operate in remote areas. The DA62 MPP can also be configured for other roles, including maritime surveillance, airborne law enforcement, and environmental monitoring.
According to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, the acquisition of the Diamond DA62 MPP aircraft is part of the NAF’s efforts to modernize its fleet and improve its operational capabilities. He noted that the aircraft’s advanced sensors and avionics would enable the NAF to conduct surveillance and reconnaissance missions more efficiently, thus enhancing its situational awareness and decision-making capabilities.
The NAF has been actively involved in counterinsurgency operations against Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast region of the country. The Diamond DA62 MPP’s ISR capabilities will undoubtedly prove valuable in supporting these operations, providing real-time intelligence data to ground troops and helping to locate and neutralize terrorist hideouts.
Furthermore, the aircraft’s ability to operate in remote areas and its versatility make it an ideal platform for other security operations, such as monitoring illegal oil bunkering activities in the Niger Delta region, maritime surveillance, and border patrols.
The acquisition of the Diamond DA62 MPP aircraft is part of the NAF’s broader efforts to enhance its capabilities and modernize its fleet. The Air Force has recently acquired several other aircraft, including the A-29 Super Tucano fighter jets, which have already been deployed in combat operations against Boko Haram terrorists.
Both ISR aircraft will join two ATR 42 maritime patrol aircraft, two Cessna Citation CJ3, one other Diamond DA42, and two Super King Air in providing comprehensive aerial surveillance and maritime patrol capabilities to the Nigerian Air Force.