The Nigerian Air Force has said “necessary payments” will be made to take delivery of the United States’ A-29 Super Tucano Aircraft by February 2018.
NAF, which disclosed this on Wednesday, said it had received Letters of Offer and Acceptance from the United States of America through its Ambassador, Mr. Stuart Symington.
It said the LOA was presented to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on Wednesday at the NAF Headquarters in Abuja.
The US State Department had on August 3, 2017 approved the sale of 12 A-29 Tucano attack planes to Nigeria with its parts and weapons.
The US Defence Security Corperation Agency delivered its certification of the sale to the Congress, which then approved the production of the aircraft for Nigeria.
The aircraft, equipped with wing-mounted machine guns, weapons integration advanced surveillance and precision-guided bombs are expected to be used to combat the Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East.
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, said on Wednesday the payments for the aircraft were expected before February 20, 2018.
He said, “In that regard, the US officials and the NAF will be meeting in January 2018 to jointly study the LOA prior to subsequent endorsements by both parties.
“It is expected that the LOA would have been signed and necessary payments made before 20 February, 2018 to ensure the commencement of production of the NAF’s Super Tucano Aircraft. The US had earlier approved the sale of the aircraft to NAF to further aid the nation’s counter-insurgency campaign.”
The US ambassador said peace in Nigeria was strategic to the security of the West African sub-region, noting that the US was committed to helping Nigeria to defeat the Boko Haram terrorists.
“The US government will continue to support NAF in its capacity-building efforts, including the timely supply of needed aircraft spares. The relevant US government officials are ready to work with NAF officials to facilitate the early delivery of the aircraft,” Symington said.