Nigeria Air Force strengthens ISR and cargo capabilities with Airbus C295

According to a tweet published by Defense News Nigeria on September 27, 2023, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is in the process of receiving two C295 transport and surveillance aircraft from Airbus.

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Nigeria strengthens ISR and Cargo capabilities with Airbus C295 925  The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is in the process of receiving two Airbus C295 transport and surveillance aircraft (Picture source: Airbus)

The two C295s are being acquired in a multi-role configuration for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions as well as cargo transport.

For ISR missions, the aircraft is equipped with a synthetic aperture radar, a ground-moving target indicator, an infrared camera, and electronic intelligence systems. In its transport version, the C295 is an aircraft capable of transporting up to 71 troops or 50 paratroopers. It is also capable of medical evacuations and can operate on short, unpaved runways.

More than 30 nations operate the C295 and smaller CN235 light/medium airlifters to complement their C130-class aircraft, including UAE, Brazil, France, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain and Turkey.

These aircraft join an already diverse Nigerian air fleet that includes F-7 Airguard fighter jets, the Alpha Jet trainer jets, and the recent JF-17 Thunder, as well as various types of helicopters including the Mi-35M and the AW109M.

In recent years, Nigeria has considerably increased its air capacity. Recent acquisitions include Pakistan's JF-17 Thunder fighter jets, Italy's AW109M light-armed helicopters, Russia's Mi-35M attack helicopters, and China's drones. In October 2020, the Nigerian Army also acquired 14 more Chinese drones, including two Wing Loong IIs, four CH-4Bs and two CH-3Bs. With the upcoming addition of American and Turkish attack helicopters, Nigeria's helicopter fleet continues to expand.

It should also be noted that within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nigeria is recognized for having the army best equipped to possibly intervene in Niger.