Insecurity: Six Super Tucano fighter jets arrive Nigeria

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Thursday took delivery of the first batch of six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft from the United States.

The Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF Headquarters, Edward Gabkwet, an air commodore, announced this in a statement in Abuja.

According to Mr Gabkwet, the aircraft arrived at Kano, at about 12.34 p.m.

He added that the officials that received the aircraft included the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi; Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Faruk Yahaya; and Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Oladayo Amao.

NAF said last week that the first batch of the Super Tucano aircraft would arrive Nigeria from the United States at the end of July.

The Air Force had last year stated that air fighters from Nigeria were already in the U.S. receiving additional training on the usage and the applications of the fighter jets when eventually added to the fleet of combat aircraft.

The aircraft are expected to aid the fight against insecurity in the North-east and other parts of the country.

Mr Gabkwet said an induction ceremony for the newly acquired aircraft would be done in August.

Apart from the Tucano fighter jets, Nigeria is also expecting other fighter jets from Pakistan.

Former Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, had told the Senate Committee on Air Force last November that another set of fighter jets were being expected from the Asian country.

“We are expecting 3 J-17 fighters from Pakistan, 12 super Tucano from the United States, one M-171… Out of the 12 A – 29 Super Tucanos from the US, six are almost here as those to handle them have been sent on training for that purpose,” Mr Abubakar said.

“A total of 200 personnel are receiving training in nine different countries of the world on handling combat aircraft. They will soon join their colleagues in the fight against insecurity and in particular, insurgency in the North East.”

After extensive discussions with the U.S. government, President Muhammadu Buhari in April 2018 placed an order for the aircraft.

He had said the procurement would help strengthen Nigeria’s national security, as well as a timely end to the Boko Haram war.

In a letter he wrote to the National Assembly, the president said the Nigerian government transferred $469.4 million to the U.S. government for the purchase.

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