By Guy Martin, defenceWeb, 31st Aug 2020
Construction of new facilities to support the A-29 Super Tucano wing at Kainji Air Base in Nigeria has started, after the US Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate’s Foreign Military Sales Construction Division awarded a $36.1 million contract to the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District.
On 28 August, the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Centre said the facilities will support 12 Nigerian Air Force A-29 aircraft, and include the construction of new airfield hot cargo pad, perimeter and security fencing, munitions assembly and storage, small arms storage, a flight annex wing building for simulator training, airfield lighting, and various airfield apron, parking, hangar, and entry control point improvements.
“With this recent contract award, we are ready to be part of the modernization of Nigerian Air Force facilities and infrastructure,” said Brigadier General Brian Bruckbauer, director of the Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate. “As a member of the Nigeria A-29 Foreign Military Sales Programme, and this being AFSAC’s first major construction project in sub-Saharan Africa, we are thrilled to be able to support the Nigerian people in advancing their defensive capabilities. We look forward to building and strengthening this strategic partnership with the Nigerian people.”
Kainji Air Base is located in the western state of Niger at the southern end of Kainji Lake and is currently the home of the Nigerian Air Force’s 407 Air Combat Training Group.
On 28 November 2018 the United States Department of Defence placed the $329 million contract with Sierra Nevada Corporation to manufacture the Nigerian Air Force’s 12 Super Tucanos. The contract is worth $329 076 750 for the aircraft, although the total not-to-exceed amount is approved at $344 727 439 and is to include Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) systems for six of the aircraft. These systems will be funded soon after the initial contract award.
The Department of Defence said that work is expected to be completed in May 2024.
The first Nigerian Super Tucano flew in April this year with deliveries from 2021. Moody Air Force Base in Georgia is hoting a stateside mission to train Nigerian Air Force pilots and maintenance personnel on the Super Tucano.