Upgraded Alpha Jet aircraft - NAF 452 and NAF 455..set to depart for AFISMA operations

Upgraded Alpha Jet aircraft – NAF 452 and NAF 455

23 April, 2013

Troops fighting insurgents in the northeastern part of the country have
uncovered a trick of members of the
Boko Haram group, which they use to
disguise, with their vehicles unable to be detected from the air.

Top security sources disclosed to the
Nigerian Tribune authoritatively that the insurgent group made use of used oil and sand to coat the body of the vehicles which they used in their attack. According to the source, this made them invisible in the air during bombings by the Nigerian Air Force.The sources disclosed that the essence of the gimmick was to make the Boko Haram vehicles invisible from the air, as they would look like ordinary ground.

The sources disclosed that this was one of the major problems being faced by the Air Force during their operations as these vehicles could not be picked(spotted) from the air.

However, the lid was blown open by one of the Boko Haram suspects who was involved in the local technology and during investigations, he confessed that the method was used to disguise as the Air Force planes flew over their areas. The suspect said with the trick, the group had been able to survive a number of bombings from the Air Force.

The top security source revealed that the method was uncovered when a large number of the Boko Haram vehicles were captured and were found to be coated with the used-oil and sand.


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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  1. giles says:

    nonsense,d malian islamist made use of dis technology dat reduces thermal signature from d engine and it’s body.and boko haram had been using dis tech for long now

  2. buchi says:


  3. peccavi says:

    It doesn’t reduce the thermal anything, it just makes it difficult to see with the naked eye. No be technology, na just common sense

    • Russellinfinity says:

      Exactly…they can’t hide from IFR guided weapons (that is if these have been deployed to the front lines)
      PSA: Do our fly boys require a visual ID on the tango before engagement?

  4. Are James says:

    This my country is going to make me die of apoplexy.

  5. asorockweb says:

    In the Giwa barracks attack video attributes to BH, one of their vehicles, a land cruiser I believe, was apparently coated with a black, non-reflective smear – maybe that’s the “Sand & Oil” coating.

    The coating will change the visible-light signature of the vehicle, and will affect both software-based and “naked-eye” based systems like.

    But like peccavi says, the coating alone should not significantly affect IR signature.
    To affect IR signatures, you need to hide or diffuse the heat generated.

  6. Are James says:

    So my dear NAF has been trying to identify BH vehicles by ‘sight’ alone?.
    I am going to kill myself because of this country one day.

    • doziex says:

      I beg hold on, a new day is dawning…..I think .

    • Martin Luther says:

      Are James says:
      April 23, 2014 at 7:12 pm
      So my dear NAF has been trying to identify BH vehicles by ‘sight’ alone?.
      I am going to kill myself because of this country one day.

      Are James, what are you waiting for,

  7. giles says:

    ok but according to d french military d UAV wer hard detectin d islamist trucks at night due to d use of sand mixture to reduce heat

  8. Solorex says:

    It is embarrassing that we are still using strafe bombing tactics based on practical pilot sights of WW2! one would have believed that at least cheap IR pods and CCIP computers would have been installed on the A-jets as part of the much touted local upgrade:trust they are on the Tucanos. Let them plaster with cement if they want- with CCIP ( that comes by default on the Tucanos-The algorithm for CCIP is one of the greatest selling point of the Tucano-it turns an ordinary prop aircraft carrying cheap bombs to a precision strike system-it would be sabotage if this were not included in ours! ) and IR pod-the oil will only assist the fire to burn well. It also show that the terrorist are been properly advised about the capability of their adversary- I hope our Government is getting such services.

    Oga Beegs- I crave your indulgence to divert to an issue long forgotten(not trying to change the topic-but i need a bit of insight here)-PIPAVAV OPV. I have followed all listed cancelled order of PIpava Defence and Offshore Engineering Company Limited since 2012 till date and the two foreign OPVs for west African Client are not listed as cancelled- as a matter of fact- during the Q2 company presentation (of year 2013) to share holders listed the order as subsisting.Reference was made in Q1 and Q2 of last year result presentation also. If these OPV orders are not cancelled- can they be destined for Guinea or is Nigerian Navy waking up in dreamland in 2015 for 6OPVs in three years(US dash,Chinese PN18 and these)?

    • beegeagle says:

      The following comment which was sent 8/2/2013 to me from Goa in India,pertaining to the PIPAVAV OPVs and almost certainly posted by a trade competitor sympathetic to the rival GOA SHIPYARD, all but confirms some kind of ongoing or prospective military shipbuilding business between Nigeria and India.


      “This picture is not of Pipavav OPV.

      Pipavav is taking Indian Navy &

      now Nigerian Navy & Government of

      Nigeria for a ride.

      This picture is from Goa Shipyard

      Naval OPV which has been delivered. Better be careful of this Pipavav Shipyard. Pipavav is yet to start work on any naval ship.”


      (find a photo of the ship which the writer referred to in the weblink below)

      Six months down the line, a global naval aficionado who writes for possibly the biggest defence media platform in the world, told me categorically that the Pipavav deal had been called off. He said so in August 2013. Dunno if anything has changed since then.

      The said aficionado also told me, and I am saying this for the first time, that there was something hazy about the expected transfer of the USNS John McDonnell to the Nigerian Navy…called off, according to checks conducted by him.

      That is why I am inclined to believe that the Americans might be prodding the Turks to transfer a corvette or perhaps, an ex-USN warship in Turkish service, to the NN. That is just my opinion. Not quoting anybody on that.

      Surely, the OPVs were never planned or destined for no Guinea. They are priced several times above their total defence budget and that would cause a political storm in the small sister republic. What the Guineans are believed to be in the hunt for are six Shaldag FPCs to replace the old fleet of six Chinese-built Type 062 FACs which are now retired.

      That is as much as I am aware of.

      • Akin Oges says:

        Just saw conversations on the USNS McDONNELL has been put out on auction. Whaooo… What could have provoked this telling reversal by the Yanks? Awful news. I would bite my tongue, my next comments would be unpleasant.

      • Kay says:

        I once came across a PDF detailing ships being built yearly in India. Conspicuously the listing for the Pipavav opv was left bare without no other information. Other projects were given start dates and projected end dates. So yh…it might be believed the deal is no more.

        I’ll see if I can find the pdf.

      • Solorex says:

        Thanks for the enlightenment- my conclusion is this- if Pipavav is telling its shareholders as of january Last year that the order is subsisting and has not listed it as cancelled- yet there is no keel laying ceremony or any news of progress since; it is possible that the order is in fact subsisting but has not be backed by funds or its been renegotiated ( shrunk/expanded). Indian regulations requires Pipavav to officially report every order,cancellation-amendment to orders,court process in progress concerning any transaction,resignations death of directors,profit/loss,partnership,share restructuring e.t.c. to the Stock exchange. Till date there has been no official report of cancellation or arbitration concerning the contract-having either of two meanings- the contract is alive and well or it is technically dead! been stifled with technicalities such as funding e.t.c I have gone through all Pipavav press releases(dozens) and reports to stock excahnge since September 2012 till date-nothing like cancellation or arbitration is mentioned. Pipavav usually does not announce progress of its project-but by law all cancellation of orders must be reported to the exchange

        USNS John McDonnell is up for Auction-not for dash, Its never been a real military type vessel( though it has been used by the navy-its never carry any armament). It also has a very good commercial second hand value(built in 1989) as an oceanographic platform-unlike most frigates and patrol cutters that are over 35years old. We can buy if we decide to. The Turkish dash will have political implications and most likely will be rejected.

      • Obix says:

        @Oga Solarex, what political implications are most likely to make the NN reject the Turkish dash? If the ship has berthed already, that means that the agreement has been sealed.
        My ogas, with the USNS McDONNELL up for auction, does it mean that the NN rejected the ship or the US government changed her mind?

  9. gbash10 says:

    The NAF Alpha jets do not have radar or FLIR(Forward Looking Infra-Red).That is why they have not been used on night attack frequently against Boko Haram terrorist.Though the NAF is the first air force to have used the A-jets in night attack missions during the Liberian Civil war some time around October 1992 to July 1993 over Charles Taylor’s NPFL Caldwell Base,that was during the battle of Monrovia.
    This is one among many reasons about our capability gaps,that we have been advocating for the acquisition of the SU-30/35 Flanker multirole fighter jets and the Mi-28NE Havoc attack helicopters.These Russian platforms have all the sensors to deal with BH by day or night,even with their vehicular camouflage made of used oil and sand.

    • peccavi says:

      Those sensors can be bolted on.
      The lack of night flying capability is a serious lapse, however even if we don’t get NVG’s and all that sexy stuff, we can still train our pilots to operate at night using flares etc

      But we definitely need to acquire a night fighting capability.

      there are issues with IR/ thermal which I wont necessarily go into but IR at its most basic (as I understand) is based on the contrast between the relative temperatures of different bodies and how they reflect/ absorb or give off heat, thus there are certain time sof the day or certain temperatures where IR becomes fuzzy, the same way NVGs need ambient light to function well

      • Are James says:

        Modern EO/IR technologies have the processing power to correct for the fuzziness of hot desert heat confusing IR and other sensors. In any case some sensor suites are holistic, the dust coming from a convoy of vehicles is enough for some of them to alert the pilot.

        I imagine the new MI 35M choppers are coming with a complete suite of sensors for day/night attack.
        The upgraded Alpha Jets (4 in number) must also have had these suites of sensors installed as part of the upgrade that was done….this requires confirmation though.
        Finally we all know that the JF 17 will deploy native day/night precision attack gear without any need for add-ons.

  10. Solorex says:

    @Are James: here is the default specification of Super Tucanos

    • Full Hands on Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) concept
    • Laser INS with GPS Navigation System
    • Computerized Attack Modes (CCIP, CCRP, CCIL, etc.)
    • HUD (Head Up Display) with UFCP (Up Front Control Panel)
    • Two 6” x 8” Liquid crystal, active matrix Color Multi-Function Displays (CMFD) per pilot station
    • Tactical V/UHF with provisions for data-links
    • Integrated Radio Communication and Navigation
    • Video Camera/Recorder
    • NVG Gen III-compatible internal/external lighting system
    • Automatic Pilot with embedded mission planning capability
    • Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR)
    • All-glass, low workload cockpit for situational awareness
    • Helmet Mounted Display System (optional)

    With this, let them put concrete layer on the technical or pour Vaseline on them-whether at night or in broad day light- they will all be toast!

  11. Bharat says:

    I am following your blog after coming across it recently.
    I am an Indian. Just saw your comments, about Pipavav Shipyard and thought you might be interested in knowing the latest information about the same as your information is more than a year old.
    At DefExpo 2014, New Delhi, Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering Company acknowledged that construction on the first 2 of the 5 ship-set contracted by Indian Navy has indeed started. Later it was posted on their website, ( link of the same attached)
    But, surprisingly the company is silent on the prestigious project for a West African country for 2 OPV with option for two more. With the silence it can be concluded that probably they are silent due to the fact that the deal isn’t close yet or worse has been cancelled.

    The Pipavav OPV project for Indian Navy is a ‘Buy and Make Indian’ category of project. Wherein the Shipyard has to buy the design from noted overseas design houses and build it in India. This is probably due to two reason 1. The bridge the steep learning curve easily for private shipyards ( till recently Naval Ship building was limited to only govt. shipyards) and 2. to induce diverse design principle by buying design.
    Consistent with the above Pipavav allegedly tied up with a Russian design firm for design. But that didn’t materialize and then it turned to a USA based design house ( Alion probably).
    The design was finalized and validated in a European country. And currently as stated above construction has started.

    Below is the link from ( Pipavav Shipyard) which has a CGI of the final design.


  12. freeegulf says:

    shame on them. this is really laughable. its not the 90s anymore you know. NAF still hasn’t learnt anything from their pastime operations. here we have the Iraqi air force releasing operational images of lethal strikes on terrorists. NAF still cant shake themselves awake. who in this modern era deploy combat aircraft to prosecute a campaign without the basic requirements such as FLIR, CCIP and other targeting systems.
    even without terrain following radar, nap of the earth flying should still be the norm for our fighter jocks.

    used-oil and sand indeed! whats so new about camouflage. the same operational necessity that polisario and the chadians have been using for decades. what did they expect. BH has lots of chadian combat veterans within their ranks and they will continue to attract foreign fighters.

    this so called information is probably just new to the journos that wrote the piece. the air force is familiar with these tactics. they just need to upgrade their aircraft to satisfactory combat requirement

  13. gbash10 says:

    @ Solorex,I beg man no fit laugh about the last paragraph of your comment!

  14. when i read something like this, i can’t but smile and wounder what has happen to Nigerian brain, are we less human? that we refused to grow and develop simple stuff, if need to copy, but all i see everyday on TV, Radio, news papers and people comment, i wounder if Nigeria will ever change for better with the type of mentality around, it a shame reading this at this age, when fellow human are visiting other planets, exploring space, some people landed on the moon over 50 years ago and my people are still reasoning this way.

  15. adickmish says:

    My question is who is to blame? The gov’t or the military. I just cant believe this is possible at this modern age. sometimes we don’t need to blame western media about their style of reporting. Pardon me, but are you sure this is true? how then are we going to win the war against terrorism if we live in the 70’s.

  16. Bharat says:

    @Obix, Thanks for the welcome.

    @asorockweb, welcome and the pleasure is all mine.

    @Solorex, Definitely, you were spot on in your previous post here. Although, at the outset I must admit I am not much knowledgeable about company laws in prevalent in India. But, I feel the stakeholders or shareholders need to be informed of cancellation only if formal contract for any deal has already been signed. Which gets cancelled.
    But, if MoU has only been signed, then cancelled, then the laws might be easy as MoU in itself has very little legal obligation.

    So, at what stage the 2 (+2) OPV deal is/was is publicly not known.

    My assertion stems from the following news piece. Covered by magazine ‘Frontier India’ in the month of August 2013.

    ” The company has also received export orders for OPV’s from an unnamed West Asian country. The company said that the OPV’s are 95 meter long and are similar to five vessels ordered by Indian Navy.”

    This is an excerpt from the article published in August, which clearly shows that the export order was active.

    But, what happened next is speculation.

    But, I think two theories are dominant,

    1. As you earlier mentioned, due to some reason or other ( Financial crunch from customer side or technical delay ( * will explain below) from shipyard side) the project is temporarily stalled.

    2. It is pretty evident that when Pipavav won the order, the design was not ready, so, is there any possibility that the customer’s Navy, didn’t like the final design or some parameters? ( For more analysis over this, we need to know what was Nigerian Navy’s requirement from the OPV, if available.)

    One of the reason for technical delay, might be that the Customer’s Navy, might have thought it prudent to place order only after receiving and analyzing the data of the performance ( sea trial) of the lead ship of her class which is being built for Indian Navy.
    What ever be the reason, we can only speculate about it.

    I shall keep you updated, if any development gets reported in Indian media.

    • Obix says:

      Thanks Bharat for your insight. You are a good addition to this blog. Keep us posted. I’m sure with time we’ll have questions concerning India’s anti-terrorism experience as well as Nigerian-Indian military relationship.

      • Bharat says:

        Welcome, I shall be happy to respond. Though I am no expert on these, but surely can direct you to sites having good article on them.

  17. ocelot2006 says:

    Ever heard of FLIR cameras/pod?

  18. Blackrev says:

    my Nigeria. terrorists have been using this technique long before boko haram started their campaign and Nigerian airforce have not acquired the technology to solve this kind of problem? instead they are complaining.

    this is hilarious. we are having more success than Iraq in counter terrorism but lack the most powerful weapon in this war. “propaganda”. till date no Nigerian has seen any video or picture of troops on frontlines or bases being bombed from aircraft camera recordings.

    so how do Nigerians appreciate what they don’t see?

    I tried this with some guysthat are ignorant in military matters and what they said was “na so so talk talk our military just dey do. we need evidence of successes”

    we need a defence review cos our military don’t seem to have a strategy.

    please MOD. stop this child’s play and reclaim your hard and fearful repetutaion. Nigerians are losing faith in you o.

    • Are James says:

      Good talk.
      How do you even train good ground attack pilots without nose mounted TV cameras or a few TV guided missiles. How do you realistically train ground forces without video footage of actual battle.
      Then the PR effect of video footage is enormous. All you need are clips of the beginning, middle and end of battle, maybe 15 minute clips that can be done and streamed to command and control live, edited later and released to the press.
      This way people have a good idea of the sacrifices being made by men in uniform instead of those boring, drab monologues from a disinterested looking DDI.

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