Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The move by the federal government to fight insecurity, especially the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east will receive a boost as the country will take delivery of six Super Tucano jets in July from Georgia in the United States.
This was disclosed yesterday by the Media Assistant to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu, who stated that six of the 12 Super Tucanos fighter jets ordered by the federal government will arrive Nigerian shores by mid-July,2021.
Shehu, in his verified twitter handle, added that the remaining six fighter jets will be delivered at a later date while 14 Nigerian pilots are currently undergoing training at Moody Air Force Base also in Georgia.
He explained that the six Super Tucanos are now being prepared for final delivery saying “the Super Tucanos came off the production line in Jacksonville Florida and are now being equipped and flight- tested.
“Nigerian pilots and maintenance personnel are training on these planes. Currently, the construction is ongoing, which will house the aircraft. The Air-Ground-Integration school is the training hub on targeting and minimisation of civilian casualties”.
The presidential spokesman further said: “At present, five Nigerian Super Tucanos are at Moody AFB in Georgia for pilot and maintainer training. The two companies released images of the sixth aircraft, which also will be flown to Moody, in a jungle camouflage scheme”.
Garba quoted SNC, the manufacturing firm, as saying “The painted jungle scheme NAF A-29 now moves on to mission modification at Moody Air Force Base” adding that “+following modification, before delivery, NAF pilots and maintenance personnel will further train in the aircraft.”
In November 2018, SNC was awarded a $329 million Foreign Military Sales contract from the US government to build 12 A-29s for the Nigerian air force. The armed turboprops are intended for use against Boko Haram and Islamic State militants.