Nigeria is likely to buy JF-17 Thunder multi-role combat aircraft from Pakistan. The oil-rich West African country has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that covers the sale of the aircraft.
The deal is expected to be finalised in November, during the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar in Karachi, IHS Jane's reported quoting a senior official of Pakistan's Defence Export Promotion Organisation.
The total number of aircraft that Nigeria might be ordering is still not known. The official declined to reveal if Nigeria will be the first export operator of the aircraft given the fact that Myanmar too has ordered them, but from China.
Nigeria will also be acquiring Super Mushshak basic trainers. In January, Nigerian federal budget document had revealed that the country was buying three JF-17 Thunder fighters and 10 Super Mushshak aircraft.
Pakistan and China had jointly developed the aircraft and the latter has started manufacturing JF-17 (Joint Fighter) at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). The aircraft, however, uses Russia's Klimov RD-93 turbofan jet engine with afterburner.
The aircraft has China's PL-12/SD-10 medium-range air-to-air missiles with active radar-homing and short-range PL-7, PL-8 and PL-9. The aircraft can also be fitted with AIM-9P on its wingtip rails, the report noted. The aircraft has no in-flight refuelling capability.
Meanwhile, PAC has put JF-17 aircraft as static display in African Aerospace and Defence Exhibition held at Waterkloof Air Force Base in South Africa. A joint press conference with China highlighted the capabilities of the aircraft and drummed them into inducting the aircraft, the Dawn reported.
It is not known if other African countries too were interested in the aircraft.
The Pakistani official has also revealed that Turkey has finalised a deal to buy Super Mushshak trainers. The deal with Turkey was in its final stages early this year.
Pakistan's Super Mushshak is an advanced version of Mushshak basic trainer, which is a license-built version of Swedish Saab Safari.
Operators of this Pakistan-made basic trainer include Saudi Arabia, Oman, Iran and South Africa. Qatar too has inked a deal for the aircraft.
Super Mushshak has a service ceiling of 22,000 feet, maximum speed of 268km/h and a range of 814km. It also can be fitted with armaments weighing 300kg as external load.