The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has recently received the final two of four Diamond DA62 MPP (Multi-Purpose Platform) special mission aircraft for aerial surveillance missions.
These versatile aircraft are set to enhance Nigeria’s ability to conduct intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), and a range of other missions crucial for national security and peacekeeping efforts.
The final two Diamond DA62 MPP aircraft arrived on October 6, via Ghana, and then in Lagos. The DA62 ISR planes flew into Nigeria from Austria, marking a significant milestone in Nigeria’s military modernization efforts. Nigeria signed for the Diamond aircraft last year. The first DA62 MPP aircraft arrived in May this year.
The arrival of these aircraft was the result of contracts signed last year as part of Nigeria’s commitment to bolstering its ISR capabilities.
Diamond DA62 MPP: A Multi-Purpose Platform
The Diamond DA62 MPP aircraft is a special mission aircraft developed by Diamond Aircraft Industries. It’s based on the DA62 twin-engine light aircraft and was unveiled at the 2017 Paris Air Show. What sets the DA62 MPP apart is its ability to carry out a wide range of missions effectively. These missions include ISR, law enforcement, search-and-rescue (SAR), land and coastal surveillance, disaster management, and infrastructure and environmental monitoring.
One of the key features of the DA62 MPP is its advanced sensor technology. Equipped with EO/IR cameras, land and sea radars, COMINT (Communication Intelligence) solutions, airborne laser scanners, large format digital aerial cameras, and more, this aircraft can operate effectively in various scenarios. Its nose is fitted with an electro-optical/infrared turret with a maximum weight of up to 100kg, and the under-fuselage can support payloads of up to 50kg for maritime or land radar applications.
The DA62 MPP also incorporates cutting-edge communication capabilities. It features a newly designed satellite communication (SATCOM) pod that carries L, Ku, and Ka-band antennae. This ensures seamless communication, even in remote areas.
To operate this advanced aircraft effectively, it includes an operator station with consoles for one or two operators to control and monitor the sensors on board. The DA62 MPP can also be customized with special mission turnkey solutions, offering a comprehensive package for mission success.
The acquisition of the Diamond DA62 MPP aircraft aligns with Nigeria’s broader efforts to modernize its fleet and enhance its operational capabilities. According to Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, the Chief of Air Staff, these aircraft’s advanced sensors and avionics will significantly improve Nigeria’s surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. This will enhance situational awareness and decision-making, critical elements in modern military operations.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has actively engaged in counterinsurgency operations against groups like Boko Haram. The addition of the Diamond DA62 MPP aircraft will be invaluable in these operations. Its ISR capabilities will provide real-time intelligence data to ground troops, aiding in locating and neutralizing threats efficiently.
The DA62 MPP’s ability to operate in remote areas and its versatility make it an ideal platform for various security operations. Beyond counterinsurgency efforts, it can be used for monitoring illegal activities, such as oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region, maritime surveillance, and border patrols.
Nigeria’s receipt of all four Diamond DA62 MPP special mission aircraft represents a significant step forward in the country’s military modernization journey. These advanced aircraft will not only boost Nigeria’s ISR capabilities but also enhance its ability to maintain national security and contribute to peacekeeping missions.
The ISR aircraft will join two ATR 42 maritime patrol aircraft, two Cessna Citation CJ3, one other Diamond DA42, and two Beechcraft Super King Air in providing comprehensive aerial surveillance and maritime patrol capabilities to the Nigerian Air Force.
Subsequently, other aircraft being awaited by the NAF includes six T-129 ATAK helicopters, 12 Bell AH-1Z attack helicopters , two squardron (24 units) of Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master light combat aircraft, two Airbus C-295 medium tactical transport aircraft, two Agusta AW109 Trekker helicopters, two Beechcraft King Air 360I ISR aircraft as a replacement for another two King Air 350 that crashed in 2020, and three more Wing Loong II unmanned combat aerial vehicles.