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Nigerian Air Force receives two more DA62 surveillance aircraft

The NAF's four new DA62 surveillance aircraft at the 303 Medium Airlift Group's base in Ilorin. (Nigerian Air Force)

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has taken delivery of two more Diamond DA62 surveillance aircraft on 11 October, its director of public relations announced later that day.

In a statement, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said the procurement process began about two years ago when funding was secured for four DA62s, with the first two delivered between February and July.

The NAF released a photograph showing all four DA62s fitted with electro-optical systems under their noses during the reception ceremony for the second two at General Tunde Idiagbon International Airport south of Ilorin in Kwara State. The airport is the home of the NAF's 303 Medium Airlift Group.

In his speech during the ceremony, Air Vice Marshal Tajudeen Yusuf said assigning the DA62s to the 303 Medium Airlift Group would enhance its ability to support combat operations.

Powered by two piston engines, the seven-seat DA62 has a maximum range of 2,385 km with an auxiliary fuel tank, according to Diamond Aviation.

Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar said the NAF would soon receive M346FA light attack jets, AW109 helicopters, AH-1Z attack helicopters, T129 attack helicopters, and King Air 360 fixed-wing aircraft.

The NAF has repeatedly stated that it is expecting M346s but Italian manufacturer Leonardo has not confirmed the order. While the sale of 12 AH-1Zs to Nigeria was approved in April 2022, a contract has yet to be awarded to Bell Textron.

Air Mshl Abubakar said in August that the first of six T129s would be operational in September but their delivery is still unconfirmed.

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