12 Tucano jets to arrive on schedule — NAF

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THE Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has dismissed reports that the subsisting contractual agreement between the Federal Government and the United States for the supply of 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is in jeopardy due to “bad runway at the 407 Air Combat Training Group, Kainji.”

The NAF disclosed that six of the expected 12 aircraft had been produced and were presently being employed for conversion training of six NAF pilots who are in the US.

NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, in a statement in Abuja on Monday, said the utterances credited to the Vice Chairman Senate Committee on Air Force, Senator Mike Nnachi, while briefing the Senate Appropriation Committee on the 2021 NAF Budget proposal, were taken out of context.

The Senate Committee on Air Force had last Thursday said Nigeria stood the risk of losing $493m paid to the United States for the purchase of the Super Tucano fighter jets due to the bad runway at Kainji.

The FG had in 2018 wired $493m to the US for the purchase of the jets to tackle insurgency and other security challenges facing the country.

But reacting to the report, Daramola in the statement titled, ‘A-29 Super Tucano aircraft projection on course for delivery as scheduled,’ said the jets would land on Nigerian soil as scheduled and in accordance with the terms of the contract.

In addition, NAF explained that the team from the USA is currently in Kainji overseeing the construction of critical infrastructure provided in the contract ahead of the delivery of the aircraft.

The NAF spokesman further explained that the about 40-year old 407 ACTG Kainji runway, which has been in use for more than the number of years estimated as its lifespan, has been earmarked for resurfacing.

He added, “In this regard, the National Assembly, through the Senate and House Committees on Air Force, as well as the Federal Government are working assiduously to secure funding for the resurfacing.

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