The United States Department of Defence (US DOD) has assured the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) of its readiness to channel all efforts towards on-schedule delivery of the 12 units of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, recently paid for by the Federal Government.
This assurance was given by the Director of United States Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation (AFSAC) Directorate, Brigadier General Sean Farrell, during a meeting between representatives of the US DOD and the NAF, held at the Headquarters NAF in Abuja.
It would be recalled the Federal Government had, in April 2018, withdrew $462m from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for procurement of 12 Super Tucano aircraft from the U.S. government without getting the National Assembly’s approval.
The first batch of the aircraft is expected by 2020, while the final batch arrives in 2021.
In a statement, yesterday, by NAF Director of Information, General Farrell, who is one of the US DOD senior officers overseeing ongoing process of procurement of the aircraft, mentioned that he and his team members were in Nigeria to discuss delivery schedule, as well as construction efforts at NAF Base, where the aircraft would be stationed.
He expressed his team’s readiness to complete execution of the contract in record time, while noting that the visit to the Base would provide the team with firsthand knowledge of the construction site, as well as help avoid delays in schedule and risks in future.
He added that the AFSAC is committed to assisting NAF to deliver air power capability expeditiously, in order to add value to what the Service is already doing in the Counter Insurgency (COIN) operations in the Northeast.
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, applauded US Government for the support it has rendered to NAF over the years, which had been instrumental to ensuring success in COIN operations in the Northeast, despite recent setbacks.
He noted that Boko Haram menace was not a local but global problem, as the consequences of not adequately dealing with the threat would not only impact Nigeria and West Africa, but also other parts of Africa and the world.
This, he noted, underscored the need for international collaboration and cooperation to adequately and decisively deal with the threat.
Air Marshal Abubakar noted that ISIS’ defeat in Syria and Iraq has had the unfortunate effect of exacerbating the problem in Nigeria, with transfer of fighters and equipment into and around the West African sub-region, thereby emboldening the terrorist group, which now has more sophisticated weapons and equipment.