By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
In preparation for delivery of the first batch of six Super Tucano light attack aircrafts, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has sent 14 personnel to Georgia, United States of America (USA) for training exercise.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, who disclosed this on his twitter handle on Tuesday, also confirmed the expected first batch of six fighter aircrafts are expected to arrive Nigeria mid-July.
According to him, the second batch of six fighter aircrafts would also be delivered shortly after the mid-July date of the first batch.
Already, the NAF has commenced test flight operations with the newly acquired combat aircrafts, as seen in a short video the Presidential Spokesman attached to his tweet.
“Test flight operations for @NigAirForce newly acquired Super Tucano combat aircraft.
“Six of the twelve Super Tucanos are on track to arrive in mid-July 2021. With the remaining six shortly after that.
“There are 14 Nigerian pilots currently training at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia,” Shehu said.
SNC and Embraer Defense & Security received a contract from NAF in December 2018 to deliver 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft.
The contract included ground training devices, mission planning systems, ground equipment, spares and other related support.
The A-29 Super Tucano will support flight and combat training, close air support operations, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), armed over-watch, counterinsurgency and irregular warfare scenarios.
According to a report on the webpage of Airforce Technology, an Air Force news site covering developments in air defense technology and related issues, “currently, the aircraft has been chosen by 15 airforces worldwide. NAF will take delivery of the second batch before the end of the year”.
In April last year, Embraer and SNC announced the completion of the inaugural flight of the first of 12 A-29 aircraft.
The full fleet of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is being manufactured by SNC and Embraer at the Jacksonville facility in Florida, US.