ABUJA — The Nigerian air force said on Wednesday the United States had agreed to sell fighter planes to Nigeria, as the West African country continues its eight-year
conflict with Islamist insurgency Boko Haram.
The U.S. ambassador to Nigeria presented the letters of offer and acceptance, the official agreement to make the sale, to the country’s air force earlier on Wednesday, the air force statement said.
The agreements are expected to be signed and necessary payments made before Feb. 20, the statement said, adding that the U.S. State Department has already approved the sale.
The sale, with an estimated total cash value is $593 million, also includes all associated training, spare parts, aviation and ground support equipment, and hangar, facilities, and infrastructure required to support the program. It will also include special training on the law of armed conflict and human rights, and air-to-ground integration to minimize civilian harm in air operations.
These aircraft will support Nigerian Air Force’s (NAF) military operations against terrorist organizations Boko Haram and ISIS West Africa, and Nigerian efforts to counter illicit trafficking in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea.
According to the statement, the Super Tucano is a sustainable platform for counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency, border surveillance, and illicit trade interdiction operations. Nigeria is an important partner in the U.S. national security goal to defeat ISIS, including its branches in Africa, and this sale is part of the U.S. commitment to help Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin countries in that fight.
The proposed sale and associated training and engagement is one piece of broader U.S. security cooperation to help professionalize, modernize, and build the capacity of Nigeria’s armed forces and strengthen the U.S. security relationship with Africa’s largest democracy. Nigeria will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.
The prime contractor of the contract is the Sierra Nevada Corporation, headquartered in Centennial, Colorado.
A-29 Super Tucano:
Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano (ALX or A-29) is a turboprop light attack aircraft designed for counter-insurgency, close air support, and aerial reconnaissance missions in low-threat environments, as well as providing pilot training.
Designed to operate in high temperature and humidity conditions in extremely rugged terrain, the Super Tucano is highly maneuverable, has a low heat signature, and incorporates fourth-generation avionics and weapons systems to deliver precision-guided munitions.