A-29 Super Tucano: America, Nigeria deal is largest in Africa – US Embassy

The A-29 Super Tucano deal between the United States of America and Nigeria is the largest defense sale to an African country.

The American embassy made the confirmation on Thursday in Lagos at the end of a five-week Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET).

The training involved U.S. Army Special Forces and Nigerian Navy Special Boat Service (SBS).

The SBS, one of the strongest military units in Africa, is Nigeria’s naval elite fighting force and often likened to the U.S. Navy SEAL.

The first batch of the Tucanos is due in Nigeria this month although there are speculations that some have arrived.

In May, the Embraer Defence Security Incorporated (EDSI), manufacturers of the aircraft, hosted a National Assembly committee led by Senator Michael Nnachi.

Col. Authur Ford of the U.S. Air Force Fighters and Advance Aircraft Directorate disclosed that 10 out of the 12 were ready for delivery.

Ford said the remaining two were undergoing modification and integration to Nigerian Air Force (NAF) specific operational configuration.

The officers said six Tucanos will be delivered in July and the remaining six in October. Fourteen NAF pilots have been trained at the Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.

The armed turboprops will be deployed against Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) elements.

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In 2018, Nigeria paid $462million for twelve Tucanos and other weapons. The payment covers Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) systems for six of the aircraft.

The fighter jets will have Paveway II guided bombs, laser-guided rockets, 12.7 mm ammunition, unguided bombs and infrared sensors.

The contract also provides for ground training equipment, mission planning systems, mission debrief systems, spares, ground support equipment and support services.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps are scheduled for extensive programs in Nigeria beyond pre-COVID levels.

The engagements build on a longstanding security partnership, particularly in the Gulf of Guinea, the embassy said.

Nigeria participates in multiple bilateral and multilateral military exercises with the United States, including African Lion, Flintlock, and Obangame Express.

The U.S. and Nigeria cooperate on maritime security, military professionalization including human rights, counterterrorism efforts against Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa, defense trade, and strengthening governance.

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