The successful induction ceremony of the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft into the Nigerian Air Force which took place on Tuesday, 31 August 2021 at the 011 Presidential Air Fleet Apron, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja by 10.00 am.
The first batch of six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft arrived Kano, today 22 July 2021 from the United States.
The A-29 Super Tucano deal according to the U.S. Department of Defense, is the largest single arms purchase in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Nigeria purchased the A-29s through the Foreign Military Sales programme, which follows the 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 Air Base infrastructure.
“The total sale is valued at almost $500 million, making it the largest FMS program in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Harrigian said the A-29 is a prime tool to help Nigeria combat violent extremism and is vital to sustained deterrence.
“The aircraft will assist the Nigerian Air Force in their fight against violent extremist organizations including the Islamic State West Africa Province.
Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa commander disclosed this on Tuesday at the A-29 Super Tucano induction ceremony, hosted by Nigerian Minister of Defense Bashir Salihi Magashi and the Nigerian Air Force in Abuja noted that the arrival of the A-29 Super Tucanos to Nigeria is an opportunity to broaden areas of cooperation between Nigeria and the United States in a bid to contain the insecurity in Nigeria.
The Nigerian Air Force is a key U.S. that play a critical role in furthering regional security and stability. Harrigian said.
“This ceremony symbolizes the strength of our unique partnership and underscores the value of training and working together,” he said.
The Super Tucanos were the impetus for the significant deepening of training and professional relationships, and that precision targeting, air-to-ground integration, and human rights training are all included in the partnership between the U.S. and Nigeria.
The joint structure of air-to-ground integration also supports Nigerian Army and Navy operations.
“The total package deal—aircrew and maintainer training, precision-guided weapon delivery, and more—highlights our enduring partnership with the Nigerian Air Force and our commitment to enabling their successes where we can.”
64 pilots and maintainers from the Nigerian Air Force were 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, which 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 a $36.1 million infrastructure support to the A-29s’ home base, Kainji Air Base, including 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.
Harrigian said that the acquisition of the fighter aircraft for the Nigerian military had brought in a multitude of capabilities that would help in tackling the prevailing instability in Nigeria.
He said, “Importantly, the platform itself brings a multitude of capabilities and this is not just about weapons, it is about intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, it is about that operability that it provides between the air component and the ground component.
“And so, it broadens the shared understanding of the force to be able to operate in these different domains.
“And, we see this as a great opportunity to work together in these different areas to deepen our partnership look for future opportunities, whether it be training, whether it be intelligence because part of what we offer and what we are going to work together is really the full package.
“And, when we talk about the maintenance of an aircraft, when we talk about the tactics techniques and procedures that the pilots use those are all things we are going to continue to refine together with the Nigerian Air Force.”
He added that the arrival of the aircraft is an opportunity to broaden those areas where “we have these shared values and areas that we’re going to work together to ultimately work to improve the security instability and work in partnership with all the things that the embassy does.”