•Grey areas clarified on delivery dates, contract amount
•As US DOD assures readiness for timely execution of contract
The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has urged the United States (US) government to expedite action to ensure delivery of the 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft on the new extended deadline in 2021.
Abubakar made this call on December 3, 2018, when the Director of the United States Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation (AFSAC) Directorate, Brig-Gen. Sean Farrell, led the representatives of the US Department of Defence (US DOD) for a meeting at the Headquarters Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in Abuja.
He applauded the US Government for the support it has rendered to the NAF over the years, which, he noted, had been instrumental in ensuring success in the Counter-Insurgency (COIN) operations in the Northeast, despite recent setbacks.
The CAS said it had also enabled the NAF to project air power within the West African Sub-Region, such as the deployment of NAF aircraft to the Gambia in 2017 which facilitated the peaceful transition of power in that country thereby ensuring the sustenance of democracy.
He stressed that “the induction of the A-29 would, greatly enhance NAF’s capability to more effectively prosecute the war against insurgency in the Northeast”.
To this end, he urged the AFSAC team to do all within its power to ensure that “at least two of the aircraft are delivered to Nigeria even before the new delivery date of 2021”.
Earlier, the US DOD had assured the NAF of its readiness to channel all efforts towards on-schedule delivery of the 12 units of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, which were recently paid for by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
General Farrell, who is one of the senior officers from US DOD overseeing the ongoing process of the procurement of the A-29 Supper Tucano aircraft, mentioned that he and members of his team were in Nigeria to discuss the delivery schedule of the aircraft as well as the construction effort at NAF Base where the aircraft would be stationed.
He expressed the readiness of his team to complete the execution of the contract in record time while noting that the visit to the Base would provide the team with firsthand knowledge of the construction site as well as help avoid delays in schedule and risks in the future.
He added that the AFSAC is committed to assisting the NAF to deliver air power capability expeditiously in order to add value to what the Service is already doing in the Counter Insurgency (COIN) operations in the the Northeastern part of Nigeria.
Delivery date and contractual amount clarified
A Nigerian military source has clarified that the planned delivery of the 12 Super Tucano aircraft will be completed by 2021 and not 2024.
The source noted that the 2024 date includes the three years of post-delivery support services as contained in the contract award with the United States Department of Defence (US DoD).
According to the senior officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity, despite the one year delay the delivery of the aircraft will commence on the 2020 agreed date.
” …from an informed perspective, I will like to make some clarification on the report about the USG/USAF/Sierra Nevada contract for the A-29 Super Tucano. Please note that, while there may be a slight delay in the delivery timeline, the first aircraft will arrive in 2020 and all 12 will be delivered before the end of 2021. The 2024 date reflected in the DOD link is the final closure of the USAF/Sierra Nevada contract cycle, which includes three years post delivery support,” the source stated.
Global Sentinel gathered that the contractual conditions for the purchase of the 12 Super Tucano aircraft as approved by the United States DoD encompass five components.
The source noted that the contract includes transportation of ground support equipment, spares and training devices to Nigeria. Others are: construction and provision of services at a base in Nigeria, provision of ammunition and advanced precision weapons as well as other munitions and support equipment.
To this end, the source explained that the amount quoted as the final contractual payment does not cover actual training for Nigerian ground and aircrew personnel as well as engineering services both in the US and Nigeria, Night Vision Devices (NVD) and complimentary equipment.
According to the source, this extra details explained the uncertainty as why the DoD contract was awarded for $344 million (N125.3 billion) when President Muhammadu Buhari had announced a transfer of over $469 million (N168.8 billion) for the purchase of the 12 Super Tucano aircraft.
These components and extra services, the official said, accounts for the N43.5 billion difference.