The combat variant of the aircraft comes equipped with the versatile Grifo-M-346 radar, developed by Leonardo and optimized for installation in the M-346FA’s nose.
The M-346FA light combat aircraft also features a Defensive Aids Sub-System (DASS) for self-defense, an integrated communication system, and Tactical Data Link (TDL) capabilities.
The aircraft can be integrated with various types of armament and pods, including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground ammunition (infrared, laser, or GPS-guided), as well as reconnaissance and targeting pods.
It is highly likely that the Nigerian authorities have opted for Israeli-produced equipment and armament.
The M-346FA will also serve as advanced training aircraft before pilots transition to supersonic Chengdu J-7 and JF-17 fighter jets. Until now, Nigeria has relied on older and heavily utilized aircraft such as the MB 339 (6 units), L-39 (8 units), and AlphaJet (12 units) for this purpose. Additionally, the M-346FA will provide valuable support to the Nigerian Air Force’s efforts in reducing the activities of Islamic extremist groups.
The acquisition of the Leonardo M-346FA light combat aircraft represents a significant step towards modernizing and enhancing Nigeria’s air capabilities, further strengthening its defense forces.