Monday 20 September 2021

A Guide To Nigeria’s Military Drones

By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
The goal of this list is to comprehensively catalogue Nigeria's current inventory of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). In an effort to streamline the list and avoid unnecessary confusion, this list only includes military-grade UAVs or military drones associated with Nigeria's defence industry. UAVs that underwent testing by the Nigerian military but were ultimately not acquired (such as the RQ-11 Raven and Schiebel Camcopter S-100) are not included in the list.
Over the past decade, Nigeria has designed several types of UAVs in collaboration with foreign companies and institutions. Most of these projects, most notably the Galma and Tsaigumi, appear to have been unsuccessful in their design or perhaps too limited in their usefulness to enter production in Nigeria. Nonetheless, they likely provided their designers with valuable experience in the design of unmanned aerial systems that one day could be used to design and produce a full-fledged Nigerian UAV.
In late 2020 it was reported that Nigeria would soon be receiving two Wing Loong IIs, four CH-4Bs and two additional CH-3As unmanned aerial combat vehicles (UCAVs) from China, the latter presumably to replace the examples lost in service since the type first entered service in 2014. [1] Arguably more surprisingly was the sighting of a single Emirati Yabhon Flash-20 in Nigeria in February 2021. The type was first reported to have been ordered by Nigeria in 2016, but had previously not been sighted in Nigerian service. [2]
After initially shopping in China for UCAVs, Nigeria turned to Türkiye for the acquisition of the Bayraktar TB2 UCAV and the Songar armed VTOL UAV in 2022. [3] [4] At the same time, the Nigerian Navy acquired at least four AR-500B shipborne unmanned helicopters. [5] It is as of yet unknown if these are intended for use onboard Nigerian Navy vessels (five of which can house and operate these unmanned helicopters) or for use from land bases.

(Click on the UAV to get a picture of them in Nigerian service)

Surveillance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

  • Aerostar Tactical UAS [2006] (Believed to have been decommissioned due to a lack of spare parts)
  • PD-1 (Believed to have entered service in late 2020)
  • Tekever AR3 [2021] (In service with the Nigerian Navy)
  • Aerosonde Mk4.7 [2022] (In service with the Nigerian Army)
  • ALTI Transition [2022] (In service with the Nigerian Police)
  • Gulma [2013] (Not meant to enter active service)
  • Tsaigumi [2018] (Designed in collaboration with the Portuguese company UAVision. Not destined to enter active service)

Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles

VTOL Surveillance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles


Trainer Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

  • Mugin (Used for training drone pilots)
  •  Amebo I [2010] (Designed in collaboration with Cranfield University UK. Not meant to enter service)
  •  Amebo II [2011] (Designed in collaboration with Cranfield University UK. Not meant to enter service)
  •  Amebo III [2012] (Designed in collaboration with Cranfield University UK. Used for training drone pilots)

[1] Nigerian Air Force getting Wing Loong, CH-3 and CH-4 UAVs
[4] Turkish Asisguard Songar armed drone joins Nigeria’s growing fleet
[5] China delivers AR-500B shipborne Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Nigeria