Recently, ten Chengdu F-7Ni Airguard fighter aircraft that underwent deep maintenance in China from November 2020 onwards were returned to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).
The Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC), carried out high-level maintenance on the F-7Ni Airguards. Seven of the F-7Ni aircraft were returned to China, representing more than 70 per cent of the entire air defence fleet, these are complemented by three JF-17 'Thunder' multirole aircraft delivered in November 2020 from Pakistan.
The two remaining F-7Ni aircraft left in Nigeria also underwent extensive rehabilitation programmes to extend their service life. A single aircraft was apparently sent to China at a later date for 'reactivation'. The Airguards are currently being reassembled at the Nigerian Air Force base in Makurdi, in Benue State.
The F-7Ni is manufactured by CAC in China. Its design is based on its predecessor, the MiG-21. In 2005 Nigeria approved the USD251 million procurement of twelve F-7Ni single-seat fighters and three FT-7Ni dual-seat trainers. The package also included USD32 million worth of PL-9C air-to-air missiles, rockets and bombs. Nigerian pilots began training on the jet in China in 2008 while aircraft deliveries began in 2009 and were concluded in mid-2010.