Nigeria’s fight against terrorism and banditry was strengthened yesterday, Thursday, as she took delivery of the first batch of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft procured from the United States of America.
The aircrafts which arrived in Kano State on Thursday afternoon, according to a statement signed by NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, were received by the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (Rtd), Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao.
Taking delivery of the aircraft means that the level of insurgency and insecurity generally in the country are expected to be reduced significantly in such a way that farmers would be able to go their farms without fear of kidnappers or attack by terrorist.
The maximum and cruise speed of the aircraft are 530km/h and 593km/h respectively. The range and service ceiling of the Super Tucano are 4,820km and 10,670m respectively. Its maximum endurance is six hours and 30 minutes. The aircraft weighs 3,020kg and has a maximum take-off weight of 5,200kg.
The A-29 Super Tucano is the most reliable and cost-effective solution for basic and advanced flight and combat training, close air support operations, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), armed over-watch, counterinsurgency and irregular warfare scenarios.
The price of food has gone up in such a way that families barely feed three times a day because of insurgencies across the country.
Gabkwet said the second batch of the A-29 Super Tucano is expected to arrive in the country before the end of the year.
The Federal Government and the United States signed a pact that resulted in a government to government acquisition of military equipment out of which we are expecting twelve Tucano aircraft or fighter planes that will help combat insecurity.
Former US President, Donald Trump had confirmed the sales of the fighter planes to Nigeria during a 2018 meeting with his Nigerian counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari.
“We are also helping our Nigerian partners by facilitating intelligence, cooperation, and providing training and military equipment to Nigerian forces,” Trump had said after bilateral talks in the White House.
“For example, we recently sold Nigeria 12 US A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, great aircraft, in the first-ever sale of American military equipment to Nigeria.
This new aircraft will improve Nigeria’s ability to target terrorists and protect civilians.
Already, airforce authorities have started training personnel to handle the new Tucano aircraft which is the most critical airpower component that must be enhanced and sustained for effective and efficient performance.
“On the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, the CAS stated that about 60 NAF personnel, comprising pilots, engineers, technicians, and other specialists, have completed their training on the aircraft in the USA,” Gabkwet said following the winging ceremony of six new helicopter pilots who recently completed their basic flying training at Draken Helicopter Academy in the United Kingdom.
The arrival of the aircraft is a major boost to the country where mass abduction of students, banditry, and terrorism have become commonplace in northern Nigeria, and separatist movements have gained momentum in the south.