The United States has said that Nigeria’s purchase of the A-29 Super Tucano Aircraft is its largest Foreign Military Sales in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The US embassy which made this known in a statement on Tuesday disclosed that the six units aircraft recently purchased from the United States for use by the Nigeria military to fight terrorism and banditry in the country is valued at $500 million.
This sales program is said to follow the U.S Department of Defense’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. The aircraft represent an historic level of cooperation achieved between the U.S. and Nigerian militaries. The next six aircraft are scheduled for delivery later this year.
“Through this program, the U.S. Air Force’s 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, trained Nigerian pilots and maintenance crews to U.S. 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.
“With the A-29 Super Tucano purchase, the Nigerian Air Force also has become a founding member of the U.S. Air Force’s “Combined Light Attack Experiment,” which is developing Light Attack global best-practice tactics and doctrine for the 21st century,” the embassy stated.
The U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard proudly welcomed the pilots and aircraft to Massachusetts on the first leg of their trans-Atlantic flight. She described the Super Tucano as “a dual-pilot turboprop aircraft built as a workhorse combat air platform, equipped for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and for precision air-to-ground strike missions”.
The statement further revealed that Chargé d’Affaires Kathleen FitzGibbon joined Nigeria’s Air Chief, Air Marshal Oladayo Isiaka Amao, and his leadership team, including: Air Vice Marshal Jackson Andrew Yusuf, Air Officer Commanding of Air Training Command, Air Vice Marshal Pam Chollom, Chief of Logistics, and Air Vice Marshal Precious Amadi, Base Commander, Nigerian Air Force Base, Kainji to inspect the newly arrived first six American Sierra Nevada Corporation/Embraer Defense and Security A-29 “Super Tucano” Light Attack aircraft as they arrived at their new home.
FitzGibbon noted, “Beyond the new hardware that you see on this runway, this program 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.”