Published On: Sat, Sep 1st, 2018

Nigerian Air Force asks for early delivery of A-29 light attack aircraft from US

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has appealed to US aircraft manufacturer Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to expedite of the 12 Super Tucano A-29 counter-insurgency aircraft to boost the fight against Islamist insurgency group Boko Haram.

The Foreign Military Sales deal was facilitated by the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency. It involves the sale to Nigeria of 12 A-29 attack aircraft together with weapons, spares and training in a contract worth US$593 million.



According to the agreement signed in February this year, the aircraft will be delivered early in 2020 with armaments that include ‘Paveway 11’ guided bombs, laser-guided rockets and infrared sensors. Nigeria also requested Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS).

Speaking soon after meeting SNC Senior-Vice President Taco Gilbert and representatives of the US Office of Security Cooperation in Abuja on Friday, Nigerian Air Force Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Sadique Abubakar said the A-29 delivery should be expedited to upgrade military operational capabilities against the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east.

CAS Abubakar said Nigeria was worried about the three year delivery time-frame, which seemed long and insensitive to the reality that the army is already fighting a full-blown insurgency.

He said with its long operating range, precision munitions and day and night operational capabilities, the A-29  will boost the counter-insurgency operations. CAS Abubakar called on SNC to push for the early production and delivery of at least two A-29s.

In response, Gilbert said SNC is determined to deliver the aircraft to provide impetus to Nigerian air force operations. SNC will also train NAF air and ground crews to operate and maintain the A-29s after delivery.

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About the Author

- I am a Zimbabwean journalist with 18 years experience working in print broadcast and online media. From Gaborone in Botswana, I cover the African continent for South African-media organisations Defence Web and Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism. I am also a correspondent for African Aerospace (UK), the Botswana Gazette and The Zimbabwe Standard.

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