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Nigerian Air Force to replace crashed King Airs

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has requested funds to replace its two King Air 350i aircraft that crashed earlier in the year, according to the proposed federal budget released on 7 October.

The proposed budget allocates NGN10.86 billion (USD26 million) towards the acquisition of two Beechcraft King Air 360s: the latest version of the King Air series.

The NAF had four King Air 350is that it used for both surveillance and transporting VIPs before one crashed on 21 February and a second that was carrying the chief of the army staff and his aides crashed on 25 May. All crew and passengers were killed in both accidents.

The NAF also requested NGN833 million to complete the payment for the three JF-17 multirole fighters that it received from Pakistan in May, their targeting pods, and weapons. It also wants to swap the Leonardo AW139 it has ordered for two more AW109s, while reactivating two AS332 Super Puma helicopters.

The only significant procurement listed for the Nigerian Navy in the proposed budget was a tank landing ship, presumably the LST-100 that was launched at Albwardy Damen Shipyard in Sharjah in June.

However, the budget revealed that the navy plans to establish a new special operations command that incorporates its Special Boat Service (SBS) with other unidentified special forces, and the explosive ordnance disposal and diving unit.

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