US to sell fighter jet to Nigeria

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The United States (US) Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, has presented Letters of Offer and Acceptance (LOA), with respect to the purchase of A29 Super Tucano Aircraft, to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).

The letters were presented to the air force, in Abuja, yesterday

The LOA represents the official US Government’s offer to sell US defence articles and services to the Nigerian Government.

Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, received the LOA at NAF headquarters in Abuja, while the US ambassador noted that peaceful existence in Nigeria is strategic to the security of West Africa, in particular, and the entire world, at large.

Symington expressed the commitment of the US government to helping Nigeria completely defeat Boko Haram and also, eliminate all forms of terrorism from its territory.

In addition, he conveyed the US government’s belief that the air force’s capacity could greatly be enhanced by the acquisition of the Super Tucano aircraft.

According to him, the US government will continue to support the NAF in its capacity-building efforts, including the timely supply of needed aircraft spares.

The US ambassador also indicated the readiness of relevant US government officials to work with NAF officials, to facilitate early delivery of the aircraft once payment had been made.

In that regard, officials of the US government and the NAF would meet in early January 2018 to jointly study the LOA, prior to subsequent endorsements by both parties.

Abubakar, while receiving the LOA, appreciated the US government’s steady support towards sustaining NAF air operations.

He also praised the personal commitment of the US ambassador to ensuring that the Super Tucano Aircraft deal became a reality.

In a statement by NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, Abubakar agreed with ambassador Symington that the wellbeing of Nigeria is closely linked to those of other African countries, and indeed, the entire world, as terrorism is a global phenomenon, which has to be confronted by all stakeholders.

He, then, reassured the US ambassador of NAF’s commitment to the stipulated deadlines in the LOA.

Abubakar also assured the US ambassador that the NAF would ensure the readiness of a proposed home base of the Super Tucano Aircraft in Nigeria before the aircraft’s delivery.

He further said the NAF would nominate and prepare all the pilots and maintenance crew to be trained on the Super Tucano Aircraft, ahead of their training in the US.

It is expected that the LOA would have been signed and necessary payments made before February 20, 2018, to ensure commencement of production of the NAF’s Super Tucano Aircraft. It would be recalled that the US State Department had earlier approved sale of 12 x A29 Super Tucano Aircraft to the NAF; to further aid the country’s counter-insurgency campaign.

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