The first of 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft for the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) have arrived at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia for pilot and maintainer training as the NAF prepares to take delivery of its aircraft next year.
Moody Air Force Base has been selected to host a stateside mission to train Nigerian Air Force pilots and maintenance personnel on the Super Tucano as well as personnel from Brazil and Afghanistan. Photos released by the base showed a Nigerian Super Tucano there on 3 September. The Super Tucano is assigned to the 81st Fighter Squadron, a tenant unit at Moody.
A-29 training has been conducted at Moody for the Afghan Air Force since 2014. Mirroring training for Afghan partners, US Air Force advisors will provide flying, aircraft maintenance, and ground training device instructors and operators to support training of Nigerian personnel.
The new mission is anticipated to bring approximately 100 additional personnel to Moody, including Nigerian military, civilians and contractors required to support training on 12 aircraft. The programme will train an initial cadre of Nigerian personnel, to include both maintenance personnel and pilots, who will become instructors.
Under current plans, the unit is planned to become fully operational in the first quarter of 2021.
Nigerian Super Tucanos will be based at Kainji Air Base in the west of the country, with upgrade and renovation work scheduled to be carried out at the base ahead of delivery – work started in August and includes a new airfield hot cargo pad, perimeter and security fencing, munitions assembly and storage, small arms storage, a flight annex wing building for simulator training, airfield lighting, and various airfield apron, parking, hangar, and entry control point improvements.
Kainji Air Base is located in the western state of Niger at the southern end of Kainji Lake and is currently the home of the Nigerian Air Force’s 407 Air Combat Training Group.
On 28 November 2018 the United States Department of Defence placed the $329 million contract with Sierra Nevada Corporation to manufacture the Nigerian Air Force’s 12 Super Tucanos. The contract is worth $329 076 750 for the aircraft, although the total not-to-exceed amount is approved at $344 727 439 and is to include Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) systems for six of the aircraft. These systems will be funded soon after the initial contract award.
The Department of Defence said that work is expected to be completed in May 2024. The first Nigerian Super Tucano flew in April this year with deliveries from 2021.