By G9ija

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has said that the first batch of six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft have departed the United States of America en route to Nigeria.

NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Edward Gabkwet, in a statement on Thursday, said the fighter jets departed from the US on Wednesday and are expected in Nigeria anytime soon.

The statement was titled, ‘First Batch Of A-29 Super Tucano Aircraft Depart The United States Of America For Nigeria’.

“The six aircraft will be leapfrogged through 5 countries including Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Spain, and Algeria before arriving their final destination in Nigeria towards the end of July 2021.

“An official induction ceremony of the aircraft into the inventory of the Nigerian Air Force is already being planned at a later date in August 2021 to be announced in due course. The Office of the Director of Public Relations and Information remains open to any inquiry regarding the arrival and induction of the aircraft,” the statement partly reads.

The Presidency had in March said that six of the 12 super Tucano fighter aircraft earlier ordered by the Federal Government will arrive in the country by July 2021.

Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu announced on his Twitter handle today says six of the twelve super Tucanos are on track to arrive in mid-July 2021 while the remaining six will arrive shortly after that.

According to him, “the super Tucano came off the production line in Jacksonville Florida, and are now being equipped and flight tested.

“Nigerian pilots and maintenance personnel are training on these planes. Currently, the construction is ongoing, which will house the aircraft.

“The air-ground-integration school is the training hub on targeting and minimization of civilian casualties.”

The set of aircraft which cost about $496million is expected to boost the operations of the military in its anti-terrorism war against Boko Haram and splinter group, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), as well as the bandits and kidnappers in the Northeast and other troubled regions.