Since September 2020 when it was revealed that the Nigerian Air Force A-29 Super Tucano aircraft will operate from the Kainji Air Base located in the western state of Niger at the southern end of Kainji Lake, The United States Air Force then began construction of the facilities needed to support Nigeria’s new A-29 Super Tucano air wing.
The contract for the construction of the facility was awarded by the US Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate’s Foreign Military Sales Construction Division to the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, worth $36.1 million.
So far, the United States of America has commenced the final phase of the $38 million construction project for the A-29 Super Tucanos’ support facilities.
The support facilities will includes several critical infrastructure like sunshades to house the A-29 Super Tucanos, munitions assembly and storage areas, and an annex for the A-29 flight simulator.
These were contained in a statement on Wednesday by the US Embassy.
“On February 15, Ambassador Mary Leonard and Brigadier General Thomas Tickner visited Kainji Air Force Base to break ground on the final phase of the $38 million construction project for the A-29 Super Tucanos’ support facilities.
“They were joined by the Deputy Director for the Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate Ronald Taylor and senior Nigerian Air Force officials.
The US Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Division is overseeing the construction of this necessary infrastructure for the operation and maintenance of the A-29 Super Tucanos and their accompanying munitions.
Facilities completed are the new airfield hot cargo pad, perimeter and security fencing, munitions assembly and storage, small arms storage, a flight annex wing building for simulator training, airfield lighting, and various airfield apron, parking, hangar, and entry control point improvements.
Construction timeline of Nigeria’s A-29 Super Tucano support facilities
In September 2020, the United States Military awarded a contract to an American company Relyant Global to quickly upgrade the future home of the Super Tucano A-29 combat aircraft in Kainji airbase.
This came just few weeks after the United States Air Force commenced construction of the A-29 facilities in August.
In March 2021, the The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USAGE) set-up a permanent presence to oversee the construction of the A-29 Super Tucano wing facilities in Kainji airbase.
The US presence also facilitates the construction of other smaller military and humanitarian projects like schools, clinics, training ranges.
The first batch of the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft have arrived Kano, on 22 July 2021 from the United States. The A-29 Super Tucanos came in two different color scheme; Woodland camouflage and Desert brown camouflage.
The United States has successfully trained 60 Nigerian military pilots, instructors, and aircraft maintenance specialists over 24 months. The pilots now fly the aircraft in combat operations against insurgent groups and terrorist organizations.