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Is Nigeria Selling MIG-21 Jets, C-130 Hercules?

Multiple offers of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircrafts have appeared in, a platform for connecting buyers and sellers of aeroplanes, helicopters and aeroplane parts, suggesting that the NAF may be offloading some of its older aircraft.

Twenty Soviet-built Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed fighter jets and three Lockheed C-130 Hercules are being advertised on the platform for sale.

According to details on the MIG-21 advert, the vendor is offering five MiG-21 MF, four MiG-21 UM and eleven MiG-21 BIS and 15 new engines.

HumAngle, however, learned from a source that the Nigerian Air Force was not offering the aircrafts for sale because such transactions would go through an open process.

It was not clear why the MIG-21s and C-130Hs were listed on the online platform known for selling and buying of aircrafts and their accessories.

The MIG-21 aircraft was ordered by the Government of former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon for the nascent Nigerian Air Force in the mid-1970s to replace the MiG-17 fighter jets acquired during the Civil War.

What appears to be MIG-21s outside NAF Tactical Air Command Hangers in Makurdi| Google Earth Image.
What appears to be MIG-21s outside NAF Tactical Air Command Hangers in Makurdi| Google Earth Image.

The Soviets delivered an estimated 26-second generation MiG-21MFs and MiG-21UMs in 1975 after Gowon’s removal in a coup plot and the last batch of six advanced MIG-21BIS were delivered in the 1980s.

The aircrafts were used for some time including during the border war between Nigeria and Chad.

What appears to be three MIG21s outside 105 Composite Command, aircraft hangers in Maiduguri | Google Image.
What appears to be three MIG21s outside 105 Composite Command, aircraft hangers in Maiduguri | Google Image.

Three MIG-21s were burnt in 2014, during a deadly Boko Haram attack on the airbase in Maiduguri, Borno State.

In the early 2000s, the Nigerian government cancelled a program to upgrade the MIG 21s and instead opted for 15 Chengdu Aircraft Corporation built F-7NI and FT-7NI.

The aircraft is a clone of the MIG-21 aircraft.

The vendor involved with the MIG-21 is also offering three Nigerian Air Force C-130H for sale.

At least six Lockheed C-130 Hercules were acquired between 1975 and 1976; NAF910, NAF911 (lost in September 1992 air crash), NAF912, NAF913, NAF914 and NAF915 while stretch version C-130H-30 were delivered in 1985; NAF916, NAF917 and NAF918.

Operational C-130 aircraft are operated by the Air Force 301 Heavy Airlift Group Ikeja Lagos, in support of humanitarian and combat operations.

Nigerian Air Force C-130 Pilots
Nigerian Air Force C-130 Pilots

In January, NAF 913 was reactivated after completing in-country Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) at 631 Aircraft Maintenance Depot in Ikeja, on January low-resolution image, this was the second c-130H to be reactivated, following the return to service of NAF 917 in June 2019. A third aircraft (NAF 918) is expected to undergo PDM in the first quarter of 2021.

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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