The United States and Nigeria are moving ahead with the sale of 12 Super Tucano aircraft to the West African nation, with the letter of offer and acceptance presented to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).
Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, Director of Public Relations and Information at the NAF, on 27 December said the letters of offer and acceptance were presented to the NAF by US Ambassador to Nigeria Stuart Symington.
The Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) represents the official US Government offer to sell US defence articles and services to the Nigerian Government. Speaking while presenting the LOA to the Chief of NAF Air Staff Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, at NAF Headquarters in Abuja, the US Ambassador said the capacity of the NAF could greatly be enhanced by the acquisition of the Super Tucanos. According to him, the US Government would therefore continue to support the NAF in its capacity building efforts, including the timely supply of needed aircraft spares.
Officials of both the US Government and the NAF will be meeting in early January 2018 to jointly study the LOA prior to subsequent endorsements by both parties. It is expected that the LOA would have been signed and necessary payments made before 20 February 2018 to ensure the commencement of production of the NAF’s Super Tucanos.
The Nigerian deal will include Paveway II guided bombs, laser-guided rockets and infrared sensors in addition to 12 aircraft. This was revealed by the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on 3 August when it said the Nigerian sale would include weapons, spares and training and would be worth $593 million.
The US Federal Register revealed Nigeria has requested Paveway II and Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guidance kits and ammunition. It lists these items as “major defence equipment” valued at $29 million, while the “other” component of the deal, for the Super Tucanos, sensors, training and support, is valued at $564 million.
The weapons and ammunition includes 100 GBU-12 (500 lb) Paveway II Tailkits; 100 GBU-58 (250 lb) Paveway II Tailkits; 400 Laser Guided Rockets including Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) rounds; 2 000 MK-81 (250 lb) bombs; 5 000 2.75 inch (70 mm) Hydra 70 unguided rockets; 1 000 2.75 inch Hydra 70 unguided rockets (practice); and 20 000 rounds of .50 calibre machinegun ammunition.
The Nigerian sale also includes seven AN/AAQ-22F electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor and laser designator turrets, spares, support equipment, facilities infrastructure and hangar construction, night vision devices, simulators, and software.
The prime contractor is the Sierra Nevada Corporation, headquartered in Centennial, Colorado. The company is building Super Tucanos for the Afghan Air Force and Lebanon at its US facility.
Former US President Barack Obama delayed the sale to Nigeria in one of his last decisions in office after the Nigerian Air Force bombed a refugee camp in January 2017.
But his successor Donald Trump decided to press on with the transaction to support Nigeria’s efforts to fight Boko Haram militants and to boost US defence jobs, sources told Reuters in April.