Brazil’s Embraer sells 12 military aircraft to Nigeria

A Super Tucano aircraft on display during a defense fair at Brasilia's Air Base in 2012 (AFP Photo)
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Rio de Janeiro – Brazil’s aircraft maker Embraer said Wednesday it has finalized a contract to sell 12 light attack aircraft to Nigeria’s air force, which is fighting an insurgency by Boko Haram jihadists.

Embraer’s military aircraft division said in a statement it and a partner firm making electronic systems, Sierra Nevada Corporation of the United States, had sealed the order from Nigeria for the A-29 Super Tucano planes, which are to be made in the US.

The contract had been mooted for some time but was reportedly stalled by lack of US authorization.

A specialist website, defenceWeb, said last year the deal was worth $329 million. It said associated weaponry, including guided bombs and rockets, might be acquired under separate contracts.

The Embraer statement did not put a value on the sale, nor mention munitions.

“The contract for the Nigerian Air Force includes ground training devices, mission planning systems, mission debrief systems, spares, ground support equipment, alternate mission equipment, contiguous US interim contractor support” as well as logistic support, it said.

“The aircraft are expected to be delivered to Nigeria in line with the contract timelines, as part of a larger more comprehensive training and support package,” it said.

The turboprop Super Tucano is already used in Brazil, for border patrols, and in a dozen other air forces including in Afghanistan, Colombia and Indonesia.

Nigeria’s military is engaged in a decade-long campaign against Boko Haram, which has in recent months been stepping up attacks on military targets.

The conflict has killed more than 27,000 people and displaced almost two million others in Nigeria’s northeast. It has spilled into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, triggering a dire humanitarian crisis in the region.

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