Ground has been broken on the final phase of a $38 million construction project for Nigerian Air Force Super Tucano aircraft at Kainji Air Force Base.
On 15 February, US Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard and US Army Corps of Engineers Brigadier General Thomas Tickner visited Kainji Air Force Base to break ground on the support facilities. They were joined by the Deputy Director for the Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate Ronald Taylor and senior Nigerian Air Force officials.
The US Embassy said the construction site will be the location of several critical facilities including sunshades to house the A-29 Super Tucanos, munitions assembly and storage areas, and an annex for an A-29 flight simulator. The US Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, which is part of the larger US Army Corps of Engineers, North Atlantic Division, is overseeing the construction of the infrastructure for the operation and maintenance of the Super Tucanos and their accompanying munitions.
While touring the site, Leonard explained the importance of this ground-breaking: “We are not just here today to celebrate a milestone in airbase construction, but a milestone in a partnership between our two countries. This monumental undertaking of the Nigerian Air Force through the A-29 Super Tucano program reflects the work ethic, ingenuity, and dedication of the Nigerian people.”
Tickner, commander of the US Army Corps of Engineers, North Atlantic Division, echoed Ambassador Leonard’s sentiment. “We are proud to partner with the US Embassy, US Air Force, and the Nigerian Air Force to deliver support facilities for their new fleet of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft. These projects are a prime example of USACE’s unique ability to apply its engineering expertise in ways that build partner capacity, strengthen strategic relationships, and bolster Nigeria’s security capability.”
This construction project is a part of the historic $500 million US foreign military sale to Nigeria, which also includes the delivery of 12 Super Tucano aircraft, munitions, and training. This is the largest US foreign military sales case in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Nigerian Air Force received its final six Super Tucanos on 29 September 2021. The first six were officially inducted into service on 31 August in Abuja. The 12 Super Tucanos were manufactured by Brazil’s Embraer and the United States’ Sierra Nevada Corporation.
The Super Tucanos will assist the Nigerian Air Force in their fight against violent extremist organizations including the Islamic State West Africa Province.