The Headquarters of the United States Department of Defence, the Pentagon, on Monday confirmed to the country’s Congress the sale of 12 Super Tucano A-29 ground attack aircraft and weapons to Nigeria to aid the fight against Boko Haram insurgency.
According to Reuters, the Pentagon communicated the sale of the 12 ground attack aircraft valued at $593m (N181bn) to the US Congress yesterday.
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.”
It is a turboprop light attack plane in service with countries across the world. It is designed for counter-insurgency operations and close-air support in areas lacking significant air defenses. It is also widely used as a training aircraft.
It is a contender in the U.S. Air Force’s OA-X light attack aircraft competition for a low-cost and easy to operate and maintain air support platform.
Light planes like the Tucano can fulfil air support and surveillance needs in low-risk environments at a much lower operational cost then heavier jets like the A-10 or F-16 and require less flight and maintenance training.
In April, the US had agreed to sell high-tech aircraft to Nigeria to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East.
United States officials told the Associated Press that the Congress was expected to receive formal notification within weeks, setting in motion the deal with Nigeria.
They added that the arrangement would call for Nigeria purchasing up to 12 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft with sophisticated targeting gear.
Before the new development, the United States had prevented Nigeria from acquiring the Super Tucano ground attack aircraft from Brazil in November, 2016 because of allegations of human rights violations against the Nigerian military.