September 01, (THEWILL) – The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has inducted six newly acquired A-29 Super Tucano aircrafts into the NAF Order of Battle.
The induction ceremony was held on Tuesday at the Presidential Air Fleet Apron of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
Nigeria purchased the aircrafts through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, the United States Embassy in Nigeria said in a statement.
The purchase 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 Air Base infrastructure.
The total sale is said to be valued at almost $500 million, making it the largest FMS program in sub-Saharan Africa.
The A-29 can perform intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and precision air-to-ground strikes, strengthening Nigeria’s ability to fight terrorism.
According to the embassy, a total of 64 NAF pilots and maintainers trained to U.S. standards with the U.S. Air Force’s 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Base in Georgia, USA.
The training also emphasized the Law of Armed Conflict and civilian casualty mitigation that are fundamental principles of the Nigerian military’s professional education and training.
“As part of the programme, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is providing $36.1m in infrastructure support to the A-29s’ home base, Kainji Air Base, including earth-covered magazines and aircraft sunshades, a new airfield hot cargo pad, perimeter and security fencing, airfield lights, and various airfield apron, parking, hangar, and entry control point enhancements.
“The infrastructure package also includes a flight annex wing building for simulator training as well as munitions assembly and storage and small arms storage. USACE has also stationed a project engineer at Kainji to provide ongoing maintenance and assistance”, the Embassy said
The Super Tucano induction ceremony was the latest of multiple significant engagements between the U.S. Africa Command, its components, and Nigerian counterparts.
Other recent engagements include a visit by the Expeditionary Sea Base USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) in August and U.S. Army Special Forces training with the Nigeria Navy Special Boat Service in July 2021.