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30 Aug 2017

Boko Haram: Osinbajo thanks US over sale of fighter jets, weapons to Nigeria

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has expressed Nigeria’s gratitude to United States government for approving the sale of 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to Nigeria.
As part of the deal, t​housands of bombs and rockets​ will also be shipped to the country.

Osinbajo on Tuesday via his Twitter handle, said the decision would aid Nigeria’s fight against the insurgency in the North-east.

“We are thankful to the U.S. Govt. for its decision to sell Super Tucano aircraft to Nigeria to aid its fight against the insurgency in the NE,” the vice-president tweeted.

The US Department of Defence approved sale of the planes and weapons worth $593 million earlier in August.

Following the approval, Pentagon has notified its US Congress, in accordance with the law.

The Obama administration had delayed the deal after incidents including the Nigerian Air Force’s bombing of a refugee camp in January that killed ​over 100 civilians.

But President Donald Trump had said he planned to go ahead with foreign defence sales delayed under Obama by human rights concerns.

The contract will require U.S. government or private contractors to provide training and support, and will include instruction on rules of engagement and human rights to help prevent civilian casualties.

The Super Tucano costs more than $10 million each and the price can go much higher depending on the configuration. It is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT 6 engine.

The Super Tucano A-29, an agile, propeller-driven plane with reconnaissance and surveillance as well as attack capabilities, is made by Brazil’s Embraer.

It is designed for counter-insurgency operations and close-air support in areas lacking significant air defenses. It is also widely used as a training aircraft.

It is a contender in the U.S. Air Force’s OA-X light attack aircraft competition for a low-cost and easy to operate and maintain air support platform.

The aircraft are equipped with “wing-mounted machine guns, weapons integration with advanced surveillance, precision-guided bombs, and even air-to-air missiles”.

Aside the original intention to deploy the aircraft to fight Boko Haram, the planes will also be used to combat smuggling and trafficking in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea.

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