Sierra Nevada Corporation opens Nigeria office


Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), having delivered a dozen A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to the Nigerian Air Force, has opened an office in Abuja.

The company last week said it opened the office in partnership with Nigerian firm AVISTAR Consulting. The new in-country presence supports SNC’s ongoing work with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) as well as other business opportunities in the region, it said.

Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Kathleen FitzGibbon hosted Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) at the US Ambassador’s Residence on 15 June to inaugurate SNC’s new office. Guests included members of Nigerian armed forces, the Ministry of Defence, National Assembly, and other government officials to mark “a substantial step taken by the company.”

SNC is contracted to provide continuing technical and maintenance support for 12 SNC-modified A-29 Super Tucano light attack combat aircraft, delivered to the NAF in July and September 2021.

The Super Tucanos were acquired under a $497 million Foreign Military Sale (FMS), with the aircraft manufactured by Brazil’s Embraer and the United States’ Sierra Nevada Corporation. The Nigerian Super Tucano deal is the largest FMS programme in sub-Saharan Africa. It includes spare parts for several years of operation, contract logistics support, munitions, and a multi-year construction project to improve Kainji Air Base infrastructure.

The Super Tucanos have been used in combat and have proven effective in assisting the Nigerian Air Force in its fight against violent extremist organizations including the Islamic State West Africa Province/Boko Haram.

Other African customers for the Super Tucano include Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Angola.

FitzGibbon congratulated SNC for the dedication it showed to Nigeria. “For decades, our countries have maintained a strong and mutually beneficial security partnership. The A-29 programme is symbolic of this partnership to strengthen civilian protection.” She also applauded the A-29 programme, describing the effort as a “total package approach” to military sales. She recognized the development of a new Nigerian military doctrine, and specifically highlighted the efforts of SNC and the US Mission to Nigeria to train NAF on laws of armed conflict and human rights as they employ the advanced weapons systems such as the Super Tucanos. “We are proud of the what SNC and the A-29s have done so far in advancing our cooperative security relationship, and applaud the partnership that they symbolize.”

SNC Senior Vice President Ed Topps was on hand to represent the company, stating, “SNC is proud to help improve the security of the Nigerian people through the A-29 Super Tucano programme. The airplane is performing above expectations, thanks to the professionalism of NAF pilots and maintainers. We hope Nigeria can increase operational effectiveness by adding another squadron of A-29 aircraft as quickly as possible.”

“The new Abuja office highlights SNC’s expanding role in providing aircraft modification and integration support capabilities to nations in Africa, especially in the areas of special operations, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, transport, infrastructure, border and maritime security, personnel recovery and medical evacuation,” SNC said.

“Establishing this location is a demonstration of SNC’s commitment to the Nigerian people and the Armed Forces of Nigeria,” said Jon Burgoyne, SNC’s executive vice president for the IAS business area. “As nations across Africa prepare to meet the security challenges of the future, such as safeguarding critical infrastructure and maintaining maritime and border security, SNC will help them stay one step ahead. SNC is prepared to provide the innovative, agile and affordable aircraft integration and modification solutions necessary to ensure mission success.”

SNC has delivered and supported modified aircraft to more than 19 countries and 15 government agencies and military branches.

“With the addition of the office in Abuja, SNC has greatly expanded its physical and human infrastructure to better deliver for its customers, boasting 16 aircraft hangars, more than 45 certified pilots and over 100 aircraft maintenance personnel available to deploy anywhere in the world within hours of notice,” SNC said, adding it has provided contractor operated support to customers worldwide, including several partner nations in Africa. It also supports expeditionary activities from forward operation bases worldwide.