The Brazilian government has approved the sale of three second hand Super Tucano aircraft to Nigeria, the Nigerian Air Force has announced.
“The acquisition of this aircraft by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is expected to boost its operational capabilities in tackling insurgence and militancy in the country,” the NAF said in a statement on 8 February, after announcing the approval of the sale of three ‘serviceable’ ‘pre-owned’ Super Tucanos.
“Conveying the approval to the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar at the NAF Headquarters Abuja, the Embraer Contract Negotiator, Mr Eneias de Souza Freitas said, ‘the Brazilian Ministry of Defence has informed them that approval for the sale of three Super Tucano A-29 aircraft to Nigeria has been given,’ adding that Brazilian government has authorized its Air Force to transfer the aircraft to Embraer Defence and Security, for onward delivering to the NAF,” the statement read.
Freitas was accompanied by the Embraer Director of Business Development, Europe and Africa, Jose Gustavo.
“Mr Freitas further said that the legal requirement and procedures were being finalized by the Brazilian Air Force while promising to facilitate the legal process,” the NAF said.
According to Abubakar, the NAF first sought to acquire the Super Tucano in 2015 and this was approved in the 2016 budget, although there has been talk of interest in the Super Tucano since at least 2013. A team of NAF officers will visit Brazil to inspect the aircraft ahead of delivery.
Nigeria also intends to purchase new Super Tucano aircraft from the United State. Indications are that up to 12 of the light attack and trainer turboprops could be acquired from the United States, via Embraer’s Florida production line that is run in conjunction with Sierra Nevada Corp.
The US Congress has not yet been formally notified of a possible US approval of the sale of Super Tucanos to Nigeria, but in May last year Reuters reported that the US was seeking to approve the sale.
Nigeria has a strong requirement for an aircraft like the Super Tucano as it battles the domestic Boko Haram insurgency and also deploys combat aircraft to foreign countries on peacekeeping operations.
The Super Tucano can be used for training, surveillance or attack. It can be armed with two wing-mounted machine guns and can carry up to 1 550 kg of weapons.