The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) says its six new Super Tucano A-29 light attack aircraft will be delivered from the United States of America in July this year.
NAF Chief of Air Staff Air Vice Marshall Sadique Abubakar said preparations to receive the aircraft were at an advanced stage.
“The six Super Tucano A-29 light attack jets will be delivered in July 2021. We have already appointed those who will receive the aircraft and upgraded our airport facilities to accommodate the planes.
“To achieve this, we have already sent 54 NAF personnel including pilots, aircraft technicians and support staff to the US where they are undergoing training. They will be returning home in July with the aircraft,” AVM Abubakar said.
Approximately 100 additional personnel are in Moody airbase, including Nigerian military, civilians and contractors required to support training on 12 aircraft, the training programme will cover an initial cadre of Nigerian personnel, to include both maintenance personnel and pilots, who will become instructors.
NAF expects the A-29 light attack aircraft to help turn the tide in the counter-insurgency war against Boko Haram in the north-east.
The air force is also providing aerial support to troops battling militants in the south and armed cattle rustlers across the country.
In 2018, Nigeria signed for twelve Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC)-Embraer A-29 Super Tucano light-attack aircraft, with a contract awarded on 28 November, with a further USD15.65 million earmarked for forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensors on six aircraft.
The contract includes ground training technologies, mission planning systems, mission debrief systems, spares, ground support equipment, alternate mission equipment, as well as US contractor support.
In December last year, reports emerged that hackers gained access and leaked some of Brazilian company Embraer private files involving the Super Tucanos, after the company refused to negotiate and pay ransom demands.
Data stolen from the site includes samples of employee details, business contracts, photos of flight simulations, and source code, among others.
However, the Super Tucano program have been going on schedule with the first aircraft conducting its maiden flight at the Florida production facility on 17 April.