Insurgency: FG demands speedy delivery of Super Tucano fighter jets from USA.
As efforts are intensified by the military and other security agencies to further decimate and bring an end to Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists causing havoc in the North East of the country, the federal government has pleaded with the United States to fast track the delivery of the Super Tucano attack aircraft to the Nigerian Air force.
Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd) who made the plea when he received the United States ambassador to Nigeria Amb Mary Berth Leonard, at Ship House, noted that the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft were needed to enhance efficient military operations in the country.
The minister commended the US government in her continued support to Nigeria in the areas of Health care and Military operations.
He said Nigeria has benefited from the US in providing equipment for the Nigerian Air Force, activation of the Charlie 130, supplying of air craft spare parts, training, educational and numerous health programmes.
In her response, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Leonard reiterated that Pentagon is always ready to collaborate with Nigeria in combating insecurity, conflict management and precision in addressing human concerns.
She Urged the Nigerian Military to maintain professionalism by protecting human rights in their operations.
On his part, the American Defence Attache Colonel Andrew Clark requested for a regular joint military strategic meeting between the US and the Nigerian Military which will help in effective coordination of Military activities in Nigeria.
Recall that last April, President Muhammadu Buhari approved $496millionhad for the procurement of the fighter jets to combat Boko Haram insurgency.
The total deal valued at $593 million, include provision of Paveway II guided bombs, laser-guided rockets, 12.7 mm ammunition, unguided bombs and infrared sensors.
Aside the sale of the 12 fighter jets, the deal includes ground training equipment, mission planning systems, mission debrief systems, spares, ground support equipment and support services.
The Super Tucano is a durable and flexible aircraft designed for counter-insurgency and close air support roles. It can also be used for reconnaissance missions in low-threat environments and for pilot training, and is capable of operating from unimproved runways.
The aircraft 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 around $18 million each depending on configuration and about $1,000 per flying hour,. It is powered by a variant of the world’s most popular turboprop engine – the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT 6.
There have been unconfirmed insinuations that the multi-role aircraft which were expected to be delivered to Nigeria by the year 2021, may have been shifted to year 2024, something many see as a worrisome development.