The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) announced that it received approval from Brazil to procure three used EMB-314 Super Tucano light combat aircraft from Embraer.
As per the NAF’s official statement, Embraer’s chief negotiator for the deal, Mr. Eneias de Souza Freitas, informed the NAF Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar of the approval, which was issued by the Brazilian Ministry of Defence. Funds for the Super Tucano were allocated in the 2016 budget.
While the Brazilian government has agreed to sell the aircraft, there are still several legal and regulatory issues that need to be resolved before the transfer can take place. Embraer promised Nigeria that it will work to resolve these matters in short order.
Notes & Comments:
The NAF is undertaking a comprehensive fleet modernization program. In parallel with the Super Tucano, the NAF recently inducted four MFI-395 Super Mushshak trainers and two Mi-35 assault helicopters from Pakistan and Russia, respectively. It will also procure three JF-17 multi-role fighters from Pakistan.
The EMB-314 (also designated A-29) Super Tucano is generally positioned as a close air support (CAS) aircraft, and in recent years it has been marketed as a solution for counterinsurgency (COIN) operations.
While a turboprop, the A-29 can carry a payload of 1,500 kg in five external hardpoints. Armament options include laser-guided rockets as well as laser and satellite-aided guided-bombs. In low or non-existent anti-air warfare (AAW) threat environments, the A-29 has been viewed as a low-cost strike asset (thanks to its turboprop engine, which consumes less fuel than a fast jet such as the F-16).
With platforms in the pipeline, the NAF’s next step will be to procure guided air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions. China and Pakistan are likely among the leading prospective suppliers.