Security

A-29 Super Tucano Aircraft Project On Course For Delivery As Scheduled – Air Force

The Nigerian Air Force has dismissed reports that the delivery of the 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is in jeopardy.

The Nigerian government and the United States of America (USA) had entered a contractual agreement for the supply of the jets.

But some media reports suggested that the delivery is in jeopardy due to “bad runway” at the 407 Air Combat Training Group (407 ACTG), Kainji, Niger State.

However, in a statement on Monday, NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, dismissed the reports, saying the project is on course for delivery as scheduled.

He said the remarks made by the Vice Chairman Senate Committee on Air Force while briefing the Senate Appropriation Committee on the 2021 NAF Budget proposal, were taken out of context.

Daramola explained that 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 US, along with 26 NAF engineers, technicians and logisticians.

 

The Air Force spokesman said another set of 35 personnel are also scheduled to join the training programme early 2021.

He also disclosed that a team from the US is currently in Kainji overseeing the construction of critical infrastructure provided in the Contract ahead of the delivery of the aircraft.

Daramola further explained that the about 40-year old 407 ACTG Kainji Runway, which has been in use for more than the number of years estimated as its lifespan, has been earmarked for resurfacing. He added that work is ongoing to secure funding for the resurfacing.

“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 statement said.

“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. In addition, a team from the USA is currently in Kainji overseeing the construction of critical infrastructure provided in the Contract ahead of the delivery of the aircraft.

“Meanwhile, the about 40-year old 407 ACTG Kainji Runway, which has been in use for more than the number of years estimated as its lifespan, has been earmarked for resurfacing. In this regard, the National Assembly, through the Senate and House Committees on Air Force, as well as the Federal Government are working assiduously to secure funding for the resurfacing.

“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 therefore wishes to appreciate both the Senate and House Committees on Air Force and other agencies of the Federal Government for their continued support that has enabled the Service to fulfill its constitutional roles.

“Similarly, 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, Daramola said NAF urged “circumspection in reportage in order not to raise unnecessary alarm.”

In November 2018, a contract was awarded to Sierra Nevada for the A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft for NAF valued at up to $345 million.

The contract includes ground training devices, mission planning and debrief systems, ground support equipment, alternate mission equipment, as well as contractor support including five field service representatives outside of the continental US for three years. Work is expected to be completed by May 2024.

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