What you need to know about the Nigerian Air Force A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft to be delivered in 2021

The first of 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack, combat and reconnaissance aircraft ordered by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) had its successful inaugural flight at the production facility in Florida, the United States, a few days ago.

The Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and Embraer Defense & Security who are building the aircraft, in a statement on their website announced that the full fleet of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft for the NAF are currently in production by SNC and Embraer at the Jacksonville facility with delivery to the NAF expected on schedule in 2021.

"The NAF A-29 aircraft will now begin mission modification and final testing in Centennial, Colorado. Following final testing, before delivery, NAF pilots will train in the aircraft," the statement read.

Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, during a visit to Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State in March 2020 had said the Nigerian Air Force ordered 12 A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft to bolster its fight against terrorism and insecurity in the country. He said the aircraft are expected to be inducted into service by 2022.

"The Air Force has acquired 22 new aircraft in the last four and half years, and is also expecting the delivery of 12 Super Tucano attack aircraft which would be delivered to the NAF in November and early 2022," he said.

According to Reuters, acquisition of A-29s was initially proposed in May 2016, but was put on hold by former U.S President Barack Obama after the Nigerian Air Force 'mistakenly' bombed a camp of Internally Displace Persons (IDPs) in January 2017 killing over 100 people. The Donald Trump administration re-activated the deal in April 2017.

In November 2018, a contract was awarded to SNC for 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft for the Nigerian Air Force valued at up to $345 million. According to Premium Times, President Muhammadu Buhari placed the order in April 2018, and the government transferred more than $460 million to the U.S., $100 million higher than the Sierra Nevada contract, and potentially including weapons for the aircraft and works at Nigerian Air Force Base in Kainji, Niger state where the fighter jets will be based.

The between SNC and and the NAF includes ground training devices, mission planning systems, mission debrief systems, spares, ground support equipment, alternate mission equipment, contiguous U.S. interim contractor support, outside of continental U.S. (OCONUS) contractor logistic support and field service representatives for OCONUS support.

The A-29:

According to TheDefensePost, the A-29s are built in Jacksonville, Florida in the United States in a partnership between Sierra Nevada Corporation and Brazil's Embraer, the designer of the aircraft which it designates EMB 314.

It is a durable and flexible two-seat aircraft designed for counter-insurgency and close air support roles and can also be used for reconnaissance missions in low-threat environments, and for pilot training.

Powered by a variant of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT 6, the A-29 is capable of operating from unimproved runways, and can be equipped with advanced avionics, an electro-optical, infrared and laser targeting system, as well as communications and datalinks to enhance its combat capability.

The Super Tucano is relatively cheap to buy, fly and maintain, costing from around $18 million each depending on configuration and about $1,000 per flying hour, according to The Diplomat.

"The aircraft met or exceeded all the requirements and we are very pleased with the successful flight," stated Ed Topps, vice president of Tactical Aircraft Systems and programs for SNC's IAS business area.

"SNC and our partner, Embraer, are certain the Nigerian Air Force will be pleased with these aircraft."

The post What you need to know about the Nigerian Air Force A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft to be delivered in 2021 appeared first on Neusroom.