The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is conducting a rescue mission for pilots of an Alpha Jet that the service lost radar contact with on Wednesday evening.
HumAngle understands that the Air Force, over the years, has trained specialised personnel for such search and rescue operations.
The Alpha Jet, a light attack jet and advanced jet trainer aircraft, has played a significant role in Nigeria’s counter-insurgency campaign in the Northeast, with the Air Force employing both Alpha Jet E (Ecole) trainer and -Alpha Jet A ( Appui tactique) ground-attack variants.
The Alpha Jet A was acquired by the Air Force in 2014 from Air USA. The Jet and one of the aircraft NAF 476 delivered in 2018 are reported to have equipment onboard in support of night missions.
On Sept. 11, 2014, an Alpha Jet NAF466 went down at Kauri while conducting an air interdiction mission in support of then Operation Zaman Lafiya, now known as Operation Lafiya Dole.
The pilot Wing Commander Chimda Hedima was subsequently killed while the co-pilot Group Captain Abdulrasheed Bamidele Braimoh remains missing.
HumAngle understands there have been reported sightings of the co-pilot.
HumAngle recalls that in February, a Nigerian Air Force Beechcraft King Air 350i Surveillance Aircraft crashed in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Regarding the crash, NAF’s spokesperson in a tweet said that the Beechcraft King Air B350i aircraft crashed while returning to the Abuja Airport after reporting engine failure enroute Minna.
In Jan. 2019, a NAF helicopter gunship crashed while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion at Damasak.