US finally sells N213bn Super Tucano fighter jets, weapons to Nigeria
The Pentagon has notified the U.S. Congress of the sale to Nigeria of 12 Super Tucano A-29 planes and weapons worth $593 million (about N213 biilion) for fight against Boko Haram terrorists.
The move on the sale, which included thousands of bombs and rockets and was originally agreed by former President Barack Obama’s administration, was announced by the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The sale was initially announced on 2 August.
The Super Tucano A-29, an agile, propeller-driven plane with reconnaissance and surveillance as well as attack capabilities, is made by Brazil’s Embraer. A second production line is in Florida, in a partnership between Embraer and privately held Sierra Nevada Corp of Sparks, Nevada.
The Super Tucano costs more than $10 million each and the price can go much higher depending on the configuration.
It is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT 6 engine.
The Obama administration delayed the deal after incidents including the Nigerian Air Force’s bombing of a refugee camp in January that killed 90 to 170 civilians.
President Donald Trump has said he plans to go ahead with foreign defence sales delayed under Obama by human rights concerns.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered their certification of the foreign military sale to Congress, as required by law, on August 2, according to United Press International.
The twelve A-29s, equipped with wing-mounted machine guns, weapons integration with advanced surveillance… precision-guided bombs, and even air-to-air missiles” are expected to be used by Nigeria to combat the Boko Haram insurgents and other extremist groups, such as the Islamic State West Africa splinter group. They will also serve to counter smuggling and other trafficking in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea.
The DSCA has determined that U.S. security interests are served by assisting Nigeria in its counter-insurgency operations and that the A-29 sale will not significantly alter the military balance of power in the region.
The contract will require U.S. Government or private contractors to provide training and support, and will include instruction on rules of engagement and human rights to help prevent civilian casualties.