US Department of State approves possible sale of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to Nigeria

A-29 Super Tucano of Afghan Air Force. Source: Nardisoero
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The US Department of State has approved a possible  $593 million Foreign Military Sale of twelve A-29 Super Tucano aircraft and weapons, including all associated training, spare parts, aviation and ground support equipment, and hangar, facilities, and infrastructure required to support the program.

These aircraft will support Nigerian 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. The Super Tucano is a sustainable platform for counterterrorism, 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 A-29 Super Tucano is an attack aircraft developed by Brazilian firm Embraer, and its U.S. partner Sierra Nevada Corp.. The Super Tucano is designed to carry a fighter’s typical array of weapons — either smart or conventional. Its armament line-up is fully integrated with its avionics system and comprises most advanced ordnance and sensors.

The Super Tucano’s airframe was designed, both in its single- and twin-seater versions, with the latest generation technology and computer-aided tools that provide the aircraft with a potential service life of 18,000 hours for typical training missions,or 12,000 flying hours in operational environments, depending on mission loads and utilization.

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