The Nigerian Air Force has said that six of the twelve A-29 Super Tucano fighter jets have been produced and are presently being employed for the conversion training of six NAF pilots who are in the USA.
The Air Force disclosed this in a statement on Monday.
— Nigerian Air Force (@NigAirForce) November 30, 2020
It added that delivery of the aircraft would be on track as agreed in the contract, and urged the public to ignore rumours.
The Air Force said in its Monday statement that the news reports of the deal being in jeopardy had been taken out of context by the Senate Committee on Air Force.
The Air Force said, “The attention of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has been drawn to media reports insinuating that the subsisting contractual agreement between the Nigerian Government and the United States of America (USA) for the supply of 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, for which payment has been made, is in jeopardy due to “bad runway” at the 407 Air Combat Training Group (407 ACTG), Kainji.
“The NAF wishes to state that the reports, which were purportedly drawn from remarks made by the Vice Chairman Senate Committee on Air Force while briefing the Senate Appropriation Committee on the 2021 NAF Budget proposal, were clearly taken out of context.
“For the avoidance of doubts, it is necessary to state that the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft project is on track to be delivered on schedule and in accordance with the Terms of the Contract.
“Currently, 6 of the expected 12 aircraft have been produced and are presently being employed for conversion training of 6 NAF pilots who are in the USA, along with 26 NAF engineers, technicians and logisticians, who are also undergoing various trainings on the aircraft as part of the provisions of the Contract. Another set of 35 personnel are also scheduled to join them early next year.”
The Air Force added that the Kainji Runway base had been approved for renovation and that the FG was working to secure the funding needed for it. It added that the US Government had assured delivery of the 12 planes in due time.
“The United States Government, on its part, has also assured of its commitment to delivering the 12 aircraft within the agreed timelines, while the NAF will continue to work to emplace necessary infrastructure to ensure that the aircraft can be effectively utilized immediately they arrive the Country.
“The NAF is grateful to the United States Government for its support and commitment towards ensuring the success of the Super Tucano project. Whilst also thanking the media for their usual support, the NAF wishes to urge circumspection in reportage in order not to raise unnecessary alarm,” NAF added.
What you should know
- In 2017, President Trump approved a $600 million sale of twelve A-29 Super Tucano planes, described as light attack planes.
- Former US President Barack Obama had previously suspended the sale after a Nigerian jet bombed a refugee camp near the border with Cameroon, killing about 230 civilians who had fled from Boko Haram forces.
- Nairametrics reported last month that the Nigerian Air Force had joined China and the UAE to announce the acquisition of 2 WingLoong II Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV).