Tordue Salem, Abuja
The Nigeria Airforce has disclosed its plan to deploy six super Tucano aircraft against terrorists across the country.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar made the disclosure yesterday before the House of Representatives committee on Airforce while defending NAF’s N142.4 billion 2021 budget proposal.
He explained that the fighter jets would be delivered to Nigeria from the United States before the second quarter of 2021.
“The Super Tucano, among others is capable of supporting basic and advanced flight and combat training, close-air support operations, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), armed over-watch, counterinsurgency and irregular warfare scenarios. It is currently flown by 15 countries, according to SNC”, he explained further.
The NAF chief also told the Committee, that arrangements were concluded to repair the Kainji runway ahead of the arrival of the fighter jets.
“The Super Tucano aircraft is coming to Kainji. The runway in Kainji is not really in good shape for now. We will not want to contract the job out due to paucity of funds. But we have our civil engineers and outworks personnel that can be mobilised through direct labour to achieve repairs of that runway before the arrival of the Super Tucano in the second quarter of next year”, he said.
The NAF chief disclosed that NAF is also expecting “additional 17 aircraft, in addition to the 22 aircraft procured and at the disposal of his outfit. He also said there are 3 other special mission aircraft at the disposal of his outfit under the deep blue project of the federal ministry of transportation”.
He made reference to the plan to expend “N17 billion for the procurement of 3 JF 17 multi-role fighter aircraft from Pakistan, N650 million for procurement of various aircraft arm and ammunition, N150 million for the procurement of small arms and ammunition.
“It includes N271 million for the procurement of 3 unmanned aerial systems and associated accessories and infrastructural development of newly established NAF bases to the tune of N1 billion as some of the capital expenditures worth N31.9 billion for his outfit in 2021”.
The chairman of the committee, Rep Shehu Koko who commended the role played by NAF in battling insurgency and assorted crimes, in the country also approved the usage of the 2020 budgetary allocation and the 2021 budgetary allocation to NAF.
The lawmaker also expressed satisfaction over the near-total release of NN26.9 billion component of the 2020 budget to NAF.