The US State Department has approved the sale of 12 Embraer A-29 Super Tucanos to Nigeria, despite concerns from the previous administration over the Nigerian government’s bombing of civilians.
The department notified the US Congress, which has 30 days to approve the deal, of the $593 million foreign military sale on 2 August. The package includes the aircraft, weapons, training, spare parts and facilities to support the programme, according to a 3 August announced by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
In January 2017, a Nigerian Air Force fighter bombed a northeast refugee camp near the border with Cameroon, which reportedly killed at least 100 civilians. The attack prompted the Obama administration to put the Super Tucano sale on hold. The Trump Administration restarted the approval process a few months later, pushing for the sale to support Nigeria’s fight against the terrorist group Boko Haram.
Super Tucano operators will be trained not only in targeting, but in human rights and the law of armed conflict, a government official tells FlightGlobal. The training is part of an effort to assuage earlier concerns over the Nigerian Air Force’s actions.
The sale marks another victory for Embraer, which is flying the A-29 in the US Air Force’s light attack OA-X experiment this week at Holloman AFB, New Mexico.
While the recent deal marks a foreign military sale for Embraer’s aircraft, the USAF has also acquired a total of 26 A-29s since 2014 to transfer to the air forces of Lebanon and Afghanistan. This is the second FMS deal for the Super Tucano following the sale to Lebanon. Embraer is also selling the Super Tucano independently of FMS and the USAF's Building Partnership for Capacity programme.