The U.S. Air Force officials announced on April 10 that Moody Air Force Base will host a stateside mission to train Nigerian Air Force (NAF) pilots and maintenance personnel on the A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft.
This temporary program will fall under the 81st Fighter Squadron, an existing A-29 Light Air Support training squadron that currently trains Afghan Air Force (AAF) personnel. This program will ensure the Nigerian Air Force receives the support and training it needs to safely and effectively employ the A-29 aircraft.
A-29 training has been conducted at Moody for the Afghan Air Force since 2014. Mirroring training for Afghan partners, U.S. Air Force advisors will provide flying, aircraft maintenance, and ground training device instructors and operators to support training of the Nigerian forces.
In 2018, Embraer Defense & Security and its partner Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) were awarded a contract to deliver 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to the Nigerian Air Force. The sale of the aircraft through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route, with an estimated total case value is $593 million, was approved by the U.S. State Department in August, 2017 and the $329 million undefinitized contract action (UCA) was awarded to SNC in November 2018.
The new mission is anticipated to bring approximately 100 additional personnel to Moody, including Nigerian military, civilians and contractors required to support training on 12 aircraft. The program will train an initial cadre of Nigerian personnel, to include both maintenance personnel and pilots, who will become instructors.
The additional A-29 aircraft, procured by the Nigerian government, will in turn train additional personnel on this weapons system to conduct offensive and defensive fires operations and reconnaissance and surveillance operations throughout Nigeria to combat terrorism.
Under current plans, the aircraft may begin to arrive at Moody AFB in the summer of 2020 and the unit is planned to become fully operational in the winter of 2021.