Nigeria’s Super Tucano jets are US largest military sales program in Sub-Saharan Africa

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By YANGE IKYAA

The newly acquired Super Tucano fighter jets by Nigeria, together with their platform for structured combat operations, have set a trade record as the United States’ largest foreign military sales program in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Valued at almost $500 million, according to US diplomatic data seen by 9News Nigeria, this program follows the US 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, where the Nigerian military runs an air training and command facility.

The Super Tucano is 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 next six aircraft are scheduled for delivery later this year.

Through this program, the US Air Force’s 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, trained Nigerian pilots and maintenance crews to US standards.

The training ethics involved in the programme also emphasize 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 US Air Force’s “Combined Light Attack Experiment,” which is developing light attack global best-practice tactics and doctrine for the 21st century.

US chargé d’affaires in Nigeria, Kathleen FitzGibbon, joined Air Marshal Oladayo Isiaka Amao, the Nigerian chief of air staff, 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.

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These aircraft represent a historic level of cooperation achieved between the US and Nigerian militaries.

Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard proudly welcomed the pilots and aircraft to Massachusetts on the first leg of their trans-Atlantic flight.

Chargé d’Affaires FitzGibbon said that “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.”

About Yange Ikyaa 13 Articles
9News Nigeria Editor/Correspondent:Jagusah Yange Ikyaa Yankees is a Nigerian journalist with more than a decade-long experience reporting Environmental, Energy, Natural Resource Matters and Foreign Affairs.He obtained his bachelor's and Master's degrees in Geography from the universities of Jos and Ibadan respectively, specializing in applied climatology.He is a Bloomberg fellow and some of his previous journalistic roles include Senior Correspondent - BusinessDay newspaper | Editor - The Valuechain magazine | Correspondent - Newsworld magazine/Nigerian Pilot newspaper | Editor-in-chief - The Africanscholar, among others.Yange can be reached through mryangeikyaa@gmail.com or +234 808 341 1701 & 08092277661.

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