- Â Gives final approval for purchase of Tucano aircraft
Paul Obi in Abuja
Nigeriaâ€™s fire power against insurgent Boko Haram was enhanced wednesday as the United States (US) government gave its final approval to purchase the A29 Super Tucano Aircraft, promising to assist in defeating the terrorists.
US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington, while presenting the Letters of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) to the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, explained that the approval underscored the new commitment and cooperation between the US and Nigeria.
Symington stressed that the LOA would go a long way in assisting Nigeria to acquire the A29 Super Tucano Aircraft for the operational use of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).
Noting that the peace of Nigeria was strategic to the security of the entire West African Sub-Region and the entire world, Symington expressed the commitment of the US government to help Nigeria completely defeat the Boko Haram terrorists and also eliminate all forms of terrorism from its territory.
He also conveyed the US governmentâ€™s belief that the capacity of the NAF could greatly be enhanced by the acquisition of the Super Tucano Aircraft.
According to him: “The US government would, therefore, continue to support the NAF in its capacity building efforts, including the timely supply of needed aircraft spares.”
The US ambassador also indicated the readiness of relevant US government officials to work with NAF officials to facilitate the early delivery of the aircraft once payment was made.
To that effect, officials of both the US government and the NAF would be meeting in early January 2018 to jointly study the LOA prior to subsequent endorsements by both parties.
The CAS, while receiving the LOA, expressed the appreciation of the federal government to the US government for its steady support towards sustaining NAF air operations.
He also commended the personal commitment of the US ambassador to ensuring that the Super Tucano Aircraft deal became a reality.
Abubakar informed Symington that “the wellbeing of Nigeria was closely linked to those of other African countries, and indeed the entire world, as terrorism was a global phenomenon, which had to be confronted by all stakeholders.
The Air chief reassured the US ambassador of the commitment of the NAF to the stipulated deadlines in the LOA.
Furthermore, the CAS assured the US ambassador that the NAF would ensure the readiness of proposed home base of the Super Tucano Aircraft in Nigeria before the aircraftâ€™s delivery.
He further said that the NAF would nominate and prepare all the pilots and maintenance crew to be trained on the Super Tucano Aircraft, ahead of their training in the US.
According to NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, it is expected that the LOA would have been signed and necessary payments made before 20 February 2018 to ensure the commencement of production of the NAFâ€™s Super Tucano Aircraft.
The LOA represents the official US government offer to sell US defence articles and services to the Nigerian government.
“It would be recalled that the US State Department had earlier approved the sale of 12 x A29 Super Tucano Aircraft to the NAF to further aid the nationâ€™s counterinsurgency campaign,” Adesanya stated.