Pentagon awards $329 million contract to Sierra Nevada because that 12 A-29s for the Nigerian waiting Force, more than 2 years after the was very first mooted

Fergus Kelly November 29, 2018

Sierra Nevada has been forgive a long-awaited contract because that 12 A-29 super Tucano light attack aircraft for the Nigerian waiting Force, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a release.

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The $329,076,750 undefinitized contract activity was approved v a not-to-exceed lot of $344,727,439 to include a front Looking Infrared system for six of the aircraft, i m sorry the Wednesday, November 28 release stated would be funded “soon ~ the award.”

The contract has ground cultivate devices, mission planning and also debrief systems, spares, ground support equipment, alternate mission equipment, and also contractor support including 5 field service representatives for external of continent U.S. For 3 years.

Work will certainly be performed in Jacksonville, Florida, and also is supposed to be completed by may 2024.

An Afghan Air force A-29 at sight Tucano over Kabul, Afghanistan, respectable 14, 2015. Image: us Air Force/Staff Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr

U.S. A-29s are developed in Jacksonville in a partnership between Sierra Nevada Corporation and Brazil’s Embraer, the designer the the aircraft.

The at sight Tucano is a durable and flexible plane designed for counter-insurgency and also close air support roles. It can likewise be used for reconnaissance goals in low-threat environments and for pilot training, and also is qualified of operating native unimproved runways.

The aircraft can be fitted 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 also maintain, costing roughly $18 million each relying on configuration and about $1,000 per flying hour, according to The Diplomat. That is powered by a variant of the world’s most renowned turboprop engine – the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT 6 – rather than a jet.

According to Sierra Nevada, the A-29 at sight Tucano has to be selected by 14 air pressures on three continents and also has logged much more than 320,000 trip hours and an ext than 40,000 combat hours.

Two Afghan Air pressure A-29 super Tucano irradiate air assistance aircraft fly over Afghanistan, in march 22, 2017. Image: us Air Force/Senior Airman Jordan Castelan

Long roadway to Nigeria A-29 contract award

The sale of A-29s to Nigeria was an initial mooted by the administration of chairman Barack Obama in may 2016, but was then stalled by Obama over concerns about human civil liberties violations after the Nigerian Air force ‘mistakenly’ bombed a refugee camp in January 2017, killing more than 100 refugees and aid workers.

The trump administration decided to re-activate the deal in April 2017.

An approximated $593 million revenue of A-29s because that Nigeria was approved by the U.S. State room in respectable 2017 and included 12 A-29s, weapons, training, preventive parts, aviation and also ground support equipment, hangar, facilities, and infrastructure.

The Defense security Cooperation agency said the sale to be to assistance “Nigerian military operations against terrorist establishments Boko Haram and ISIS West Africa, and also Nigerian efforts to counter illicit trafficking in Nigeria and also the Gulf that Guinea.”

No weaponry was thorough in the 2017 DSCA release, but according come the notice delivered come the U.S. Conference at the time, the proposed revenue included 5,000 Hydra 70 2.75-inch unguided rockets, 400 Laser Guided Rockets including the laser-guided Advanced Precision death Weapon device (APKWS), 200 Paveway II laser-guided bomb tailkits and 2,000 MK-81 250-lb bombs, as well as practice rockets and maker gun ammunition.

Wednesday’s contract announcement did not incorporate weaponry, but Nigeria was among the countries noted in U.S. Room of Defense contract notifications because that bomb fuzes in June, and Hydra rockets in June and September, although the is uncertain if this tools is concerned the plane sale.

The an alert to Congress additionally specified seven FLIR-made AN/AAQ-22F Brite Star Electro-Optical/Infrared Multi-Sensor Targeting Systems, as opposed to the six in the contract announcement. These systems encompass a laser designator for the guided munitions, in enhancement to the color camera and large format thermal imager.

Nigeria seeks early A-29 delivery

In December 2017, the Nigerian Air force said that the U.S. Had agreed to market 12 A-29 supervisor Tucano aircraft, and that last agreements would certainly be signed and payments make by February 20.

However, in January, Nigeria’s Defence Minister Mansur Dan Ali stated that Nigeria would certainly not expropriate the problems for carry of the aircraft, a deal then valued in ~ $494 million.

According to Reuters, the federal government was unhappy that Nigerian technicians would not be trained or be part of maintain crews, nor could they examine the aircraft’s production, potentially pointing to pertains to that technologies might find their method into Nigeria’s burgeoning native military aircraft and drone manufacturing industry. It is unclear even if it is Nigeria succeeded in having these problems altered.

Dan Ali likewise highlighted government involves over a 2020 carry date, through Nigeria wanting the aircraft sooner. The contract completion day of might 2024 could mean that request has fallen on hearing disabled ears, back the three-year assistance contract may permit early delivery, and also a training schedule, consisting of by the U.S. Waiting Force, the was consisted of in the an alert to conference that has not yet been made public.

According to Nigeria’s Premium Times, president Muhammadu Buhari inserted the bespeak in April, and the federal government transferred $469.4 million to the U.S., although The Guardian Nigeria reported the figure was $462 million.

An expeditious delivery of the plane was quiet high top top the agenda in August, as soon as Nigeria’s Chief that the wait Staff, wait Marshal Sadique Abubakar, appealed directly to Taco Gilbert, the an elderly Vice president of Sierra Nevada Corporation, while he was on a visit to Abuja.

Abubakar reportedly urged the firm to provide at least two the the plane early, for use in ongoing counter-insurgency operations, miscellaneous that may be feasible given Sierra Nevada’s record of early shipment of A-29s, including to Afghanistan and also Lebanon.

The withdrawal of $1 billion in total from Nigeria’s excess Crude Account by Buhari because that military equipment purchases has actually not to be without controversy. Some lawmakers argued he overstepped his government by not obtaining approval native the national assembly, and also in October, the African Centre for Media and Information literacy (AFRICMIL), filed suit against the president end the withdrawal for the acquisition of A-29s.

Buhari pertained to power in 2015 on the promise to end Boko Haram violence and also has come under pressure adhering to the current surge in attacks as he seeks re-election following February.

Three soldiers were eliminated in a Wednesday attack on a armed forces base in Borno state near Lake Chad. The assault was blamed top top the Islamic State West Africa district faction of Boko Haram.

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But over there have been at least 17 comparable attacks due to the fact that July. In the many audacious attack on November 18, ISWAP fighters eliminated at least 43 soldiers as soon as they overran a base in Metele village near the border with Niger, return soldiers who survived the raid said an ext than 100 of your colleagues to be killed.

US Air force awards Sierra Nevada $1.8 billion Afghanistan A-29 supervisor Tucano contract