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Work starts on second phase of Nigerian Super Tucano base

US Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard stands in front of three A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft in the hangar at Kainji Air Base during the ground-breaking ceremony on 15 February. (US Mission Nigeria)

The ground-breaking ceremony for the second phase of the infrastructure project for Nigeria's new A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft at Kainji Air Base was held on 15 February, the US embassy in Abuja announced on the following day.

It said the USD38 million project will build sunshades for the aircraft, munitions storage and assembly areas, and a flight simulator annex. The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is overseeing the work.

The embassy added that the USD500 million programme to deliver 12 Super Tucanos, training, and infrastructure to Nigeria is the largest ever US Foreign Military Sales case in Sub-Saharan Africa and demonstrates the USACE's ability to use its expertise to build partner capacity.

The first phase of the project consisted of temporary infrastructure to support Super Tucano operations during the construction of the permanent facilities. Satellite imagery shows that the expansion of the existing runway hammerheads into aircraft arming pads was completed before the first Super Tucanos arrived in July 2021.

According to the solicitation originally released on the US governments System for Award Management (SAM) website, the second phase consists of hangar improvements, constructing a new flight wing annex building, aircraft apron improvements that include sunshades, a new boundary fence, four earth-covered magazines, a new dangerous cargo pad, and a munitions maintenance building.

When the US Department of Defense awarded the USD19.6 million contract to Relyant Global in May 2021, it said it also covered a “new airfield” and gave the estimated completion date as 1 August 2023.

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