The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) graduated its first set of instructors on 03 March for the Super Mushshak basic trainer.
The NAF celebrated the achievement by stating (via Defence Web): “The successful conversion of these pilots will enhance pilot training which will in turn impact positively on operational effectiveness of the NAF especially in its fight against insurgency and other criminalities within the country.”
Nigeria ordered 10 Super Mushshak trainers from Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) in June 2016. The contract also included the provision of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) personnel to the NAF’s 310 Flying School.
In December 2016, PAC delivered four aircraft. These are surplus units to help the NAF build familiarity with the platform until its new-built aircraft are ready for delivery.
As per Defence Web, PAC will deliver another Super Mushshak batch in the second quarter of 2017, but these will also be from surplus stocks.
The Super Mushshak is an upgraded variant of the Saab MFI-17 Supporter, which was assembled from knockdown kits at PAC until the mid-1980s, when Saab licensed PAC to manufacture the platform.
In 1995, PAC began developing the Super Mushshak, which included an uprated engine (Lycoming IO-540) and modern avionics, including a glass cockpit. Since its maiden flight in 2001, the Super Mushshak has been exported to many overseas users, especially in the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Notes & Comments:
If the NAF is using the Super Mushshak in the same manner as the PAF, the trainer will serve as a screener for prospective pilots and trainer for imparting basic flying skills. From there, NAF pilots would progress to the NAF’s basic/intermediate jet trainers, such as the L-39.
Besides the Super Mushshak, the NAF is also procuring three JF-17 Thunder multi-role fighters from PAC. As per the NAF, these will be used “for counter air, counter surface, air [operations] for strategic effect and air support operations.”