Six Super Tucanos due in Nigeria July, says Presidency

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Six of the 12 Super-Tucano fighter jets ordered by Federal Government from the United States (U.S.) are due in the country in July, the Presidency said on Thursday.

The information came amid raging controversy on what happened to the cash approved by the government to kit the military with modern equipment.

There have been brickbats over alleged misapplication of the $1 billion military equipment fund appropriated and drawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA).

The National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, stirred the controversy when he said in a recent media chat that the management of the cash would be investigated.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been at the forefront of those accusing the government of insincerity over the fund’s management.

However, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said six of the jets would be delivered by the middle of July.

In a post on his Twitter handle, Shehu said the remaining six would arrive shortly after.

According to his post, 14 Nigerian pilots to handle the Tucanos are already undergoing training at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.

The post reads: “The Super Tucanos came off the production line in Jacksonville Florida and are now being equipped and flight tested.

“Nigerian pilots and maintenance personnel are training on these planes. Currently, the construction is ongoing, which will house the aircraft.

“The Air-Ground-Integration school is the training hub on targeting and minimisation of civilian casualties.

“At present, five Nigerian Super Tucanos are at Moody AFB in Georgia for pilot and maintainer training.

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“The two companies released images of the sixth aircraft, which also will be flown to Moody, in a jungle camouflage scheme.”

The statement further quoted SNC as saying that “The painted jungle scheme NAF A-29 now moves on to mission modification at Moody Air Force Base.

“Following modification, before delivery, NAF pilots and maintenance personnel will further train in the aircraft.

“In November 2018, SNC was awarded a $329 million Foreign Military Sales contract from the US government to build 12 A-29s for the Nigerian Air Force. The armed turboprops are intended for use against Boko Haram and Islamic State militants.”

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