The United States Charge d’Affaires in Nigeria has welcomed the recent delivery of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), saying the foreign military sale is part of the Department of Defence’s ‘total package approach’.
The first six of 12 aircraft arrived in Nigeria on 22 July. Chargé d’Affaires Kathleen FitzGibbon joined Air Marshal Oladayo Isiaka Amao, the Nigerian Chief of Air Staff, and his leadership team, including: Air Vice Marshal Jackson Andrew Yusuf, Air Officer Commanding of Air Training Command, at Nigerian Air Force Base Kainji to inspect the newly arrived aircraft.
These aircraft represent an historic level of cooperation achieved between the US and Nigerian militaries, the US Embassy in Nigeria said in a statement. The aircraft are being manufactured by Brazil’s Embraer and the United States’ Sierra Nevada Corporation.
At almost $500 million, the Nigerian Super Tucano contract is the United States’ largest Foreign Military Sales programme in Sub-Saharan Africa. This programme follows the Department of Defence’s ‘Total Package Approach’ model and includes spare parts for several years of operation, contract logistics support, munitions, and a multi-year construction project to improve Kainji’s infrastructure.
Through the programme, the US Air Force’s 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, trained Nigerian pilots and maintenance crews to US standards. “Training also emphasizes the Law of Armed Conflict and Civilian Casualty Mitigation, which are fundamental principles of the Nigerian military’s professional education and training,” the US Embassy said. “With the A-29 Super Tucano purchase, the Nigerian Air Force also has become a founding member of the US Air Force’s Combined Light Attack Experiment, which is developing Light Attack global best-practice tactics and doctrine for the 21st century.
FitzGibbon noted, “Beyond the new hardware that you see on this runway, this programme has brought our two militaries closer in formal training, professional development, air base construction, logistics planning, and negotiations. We are proud to partner with Nigeria in its ‘whole of government’ approach to end violent extremism and ensure a more stable, prosperous country for all Nigerians.”
The remaining six Super Tucanos will be delivered later this year.