Aviation Historian 23
A.Delalande - Jaguar International in Nigeria
Another view of the first of the NAF’s single-seat Jaguars, NAF705, during a test flight in the UK. Following border clashes with Chad, Nigeria underwent a bloodless coup on December 31, 1983, although the deliveries of the Jaguars to Nigeria continued under the new leadership of Maj-Gen Buhari, all having been delivered by 1985.
The increasingly forlorn collection of NAF Jaguars, with flat tyres and faded paint, undergo a rare inspection at Makurdi in May 2015. Bizarrely, the Jaguars made an appearance in 2017 on UK television show Posh Pawn, in which the grounded fighters were offered for sale; sensibly, the pawnbroker declined!
During 2014-15 the late Claude Bertini, a former Armee de I’Air technician, was contracted as part of a team to refurbish the NAF’s Alpha Jet force. While at Makurdi, Bertini took the opportunity to photograph what was left of the Jaguars, including this single-seater which had been placed on jacks and tyres on a trolley.
Nigerian Jaguars under construction at BAe Warton in the spring of 1984. The nearest airframe, still in primer, became NAF709 and made its first flight on May 11 that year, before being delivered to Nigeria that September. A total of 18 Jaguars was acquired by the NAF, with an option for 18 more, which was never taken up.
The first Nigerian Air Force Jaguar International single-seat SN variant, serial NAF705, on a test flight from BAe Warton in January 1984, the month after it had made its first flight. It was delivered to Nigeria in August 1984, but, like its NAF companions, flew very little until it was grounded permanently at Markudi in 2014.
Still on its own undercarriage but looking somewhat the worse for wear, two-seater BN serial NAF702, delivered in October 1984, sits alongside an NAF MiG-21 at Makurdi three decades later. The BNs did not have the rectangular fin-mounted electronic countermeasures housing fitted to the SNs.
Jaguar BN serial NAF703 has its covers pulled for an inspection at Makurdi. In 2012, at least one of the single-seaters was put on popular online auction site eBay by an American source, with a starting bid of $900,000 and valued at $2-7m. Unsurprisingly there were no bids and the aircraft remain deterioriating at Makurdi in 2018.
Two-seat Jaguar BN serial NAF703 made its first flight on March 1, 1984, and was delivered to Nigeria that August. The trainer version sported a second cockpit, also fitted with a Martin-Baker 9B Mk II zero/zero ejection seat, which was raised 15in (38cm) higher than that of the front cockpit. Both cockpit canopies were bulletproof.