As part of their oversight functions, the National Assembly (NASS) Joint Committee on Defence and Air Force are currently in the United States of America (USA) on inspection tour of Embraer Defence Security Incorporated (EDSI), manufacturers of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) A-29 Super Tucano aircraft.
Specifically, members of the joint committee are in the USA to assess the status and progress of work on the NAF A-29 Super Tucano aircraft which defence analysts say will be a game changer in the fight against insurgency. On arrival at EDSI on 27 May 2021, the NASS team led by Senator Michael Nnachi, was briefed on the progress of work on the NAF A-29 Super Tucano programme and the scheduled date of delivery.
While briefing the NASS team, Colonel Authur Ford of the United States Air Force Fighters and Advance Aircraft Directorate stated that 10 out of the 12 aircraft were ready for delivery while 2 were undergoing modification and integration to NAF specific operational configuration. He went on to state that 6 of the aircraft are scheduled to arrive in Nigeria in July 2021 while the remaining 6 will be delivered before the end of October 2021. The NASS team was assured that the aircraft, expected to play critical roles in the fight against insurgency and criminality, would be delivered as planned.
Responding, Senator Michael Nnachi commended EDSI for the quality of work on the NAF A-29 Super Tucano. He however queried the long duration of time from the date of full payment to expected date of delivery, which he estimated to be between 3 to 4 years. In response, the Col Ford informed the team that the long duration was due to the challenges of configuring the aircraft to fit NAF’s required specifications.
The visiting team which also included Honourables Babajimi Benson, Shehu Koko, Abubakar Maki and Honourable Abass Adigun were received on arrival at Jacksonville, Florida by the Nigerian Defence Attaché to the USA, Air Commodore Jibrin Usman, the Lead Foreign Liaison Officer on the A-29, Air Vice Marshal Sule Lawal and senior management staff EDSI.