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Nigerian Air Force commissions Super Tucano base infrastructure

A-29 Super Tucanos under the new sunshades at Nigerian Air Force Base Kainji. (Nigerian Air Force)

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) announced on 28 April that it had commissioned the operations support facility for its new A-29 Super Tucano aircraft at NAF Base Kainji.

The NAF said the formal handover of the new infrastructure marked the completion of the second phase of the A-29 project, the first phase being the delivery of the 12 aircraft in 2021. It added that the last six of 24 pilots to be trained under the government-to-government contract with the United States had received their wings.

The US Embassy clarified that “crews are now finishing the second and final phase of the airbase improvement projects”.

The start of the USD38 million project to upgrade NAF Base Kainji was announced in February 2022. The contract was awarded to Relyant Global, which said it included the construction of aircraft sunshades, four earth-covered magazines, apron repairs, munition assembly and storage areas, and an annex for an A-29 flight simulator by May 2023.

The project is part of the USD500 million Super Tucano package – the largest US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) in Sub-Saharan Africa – to deliver the 12 aircraft, guided weapons, training, and infrastructure upgrades.

Nigerian television coverage of the event showed six new sunshades have been built next to the hangar used by the NAF's 407 Air Combat Training Group (ACTG). Another six seemingly uncompleted sunshades could be seen in the background on the apron further to the north.

A-29s were displayed with weapons that included a bomb fitted with the tail from a Paveway laser-guidance kit and what appeared to be an air-to-ground rocket fitted with the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) guidance kit.

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