The Nigerian Air Force, NAF, has denied media reports saying that the contractual agreement for the supply of 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft by the U.S, for which payment had been made, was in jeopardy due to bad runway at the 407 Air Combat Training Group, 407 ACTG, Kainji, Niger.
The Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF headquarters, Air Cdr. Ibikunle Daramola, made the denial in a statement on Monday in Abuja
According to Daramola, the reports, which were purportedly drawn from remarks made by the Vice Chairman Senate Committee on NAF, while briefing the Senate Appropriation Committee on the 2021 NAF Budget proposal, were clearly taken out of context.
“For the avoidance of doubt, it is necessary to state that the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft project is on track to be delivered on schedule and in accordance with the terms of the contract.
“Currently, six of the expected 12 aircraft have been produced and are presently being employed for conversion training of six NAF pilots, who are in the U.S., along with 26 NAF engineers.
“Some are technicians and logisticians, who are also undergoing various trainings on the aircraft as part of the provisions of the contract. Another set of 35 personnel are also scheduled to join them early in 2021.
“In addition, a team from the U.S. is currently in Kainji, overseeing the construction of critical infrastructure provided in the contract, ahead of the delivery of the aircraft,” Daramola said.
However, the about 40-year old 407 ACTG Kainji runway, which had been in use for more than the years estimated as its lifespan, had been earmarked for resurfacing.
He noted that the National Assembly, NASS, through the Senate and House Committees on NAF, as well as the Federal Government, were working strenuously to secure funding for the resurfacing.
Mr Daramola also disclosed that the U.S. Government, on its part, had also assured of its commitment to deliver the 12 aircraft within the agreed timelines.
He said that the service was working to provide the necessary infrastructure needed to ensure that the aircraft was effectively utilized upon arrival in the country.
NAF, therefore, wishes to appreciate its Senate and House Committees and other agencies of the Federal Government for their continued support that had enabled the service to fulfill its constitutional roles, the NAF spokesman said, while also appreciating the U.S. government for its support and commitment in ensuring the success of the Super Tucano project.
Mr Daramola also thanked the media for their usual support, while calling for caution in their reporting so as not to raise unnecessary alarm.