The United States Air Force’s 81st Fighter Squadron has graduated the final class of Nigerian Air Force crew members after nine months of training on the A-29 Super Tucano.
The final class graduated at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, on 2 September. Each class consisted of ground mechanics, aircraft familiarization and piloting the aircraft, the US Air Force said.
“We started from the initial qualification training and that’s just to introduce you to the aircraft, flight characteristics of the aircraft and how to use it in different situations,” said Nigerian Air Force A-29 Super Tucano aircraft pilot from the 407th Air Combat Training Group. “From there, we went on to the mission training, which is how to employ the aircraft in a combat situation in different environments, and how to employ the guns, rockets and bombs.”
The 81st FS trained not only pilots, but also maintainers, munition technicians and other specialties.
Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft as well as parts, simulators and more from the US government under a $493 million foreign military sales contract.
US Air Force Major “T-Rex” Grillos, 81st FS A-29 Super Tucano aircraft evaluator pilot, said the partnership with the NAF not only improves tactics, techniques and procedures for both parties, but by providing the training, the 81st FS enables the NAF to be force multipliers for years to come.
The last wave of six NAF Super Tucano aircraft departed Moody AFB for Kainji Air Base, Nigeria, on 15 September and four arrived on 29 September. The remaining two, delayed by technical issues, arrived at the beginning of October.