The National Assembly (NASS) Joint Committee on Defence are currently in the U.S. on inspection tour of Embraer Defence Security Incorporated (EDSI), manufacturers of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) A-29 Super Tucano aircraft.
This is part of its oversight functions as joint committee on defence.
A statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF Headquarters, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, stated that the joint committee were in the U.S. to assess the status and progress of work on the aircraft.
According to Gabkwet, on arrival at EDSI, the team, who was led by Sen. Michael Nnachi, was briefed on the progress of work on the aircraft programme and the scheduled date of delivery.
While briefing the NASS team, Col. Authur Ford, of the U.S. Air Force Fighters and Advance Aircraft Directorate, stated that 10 out of the 12 aircraft were ready for delivery to NAF.
While the remaining two were undergoing modification and integration to NAF specific operational configuration.
Ford added that six of the aircraft were scheduled to arrive the country in July while the remaining six would be delivered before the end of October.
The team was assured that the aircraft, expected to play critical roles in the fight against insurgency and criminality, would be delivered as planned.
In his remarks, Nnachi commended EDSI for the quality of work on the aircraft.
He, however, queried the long duration of time from the date of full payment to expected date of delivery, which he estimated to be between three to four years.
In his response, Ford informed the team that the long duration was due to the challenges of configuring the aircraft to fit NAF’s required specifications.
The team, which also included Babajimi Benson, Shehu Koko, Abubakar Maki and Abass Adigun, were received on arrival at Jacksonville, Florida, by the Nigerian Defence Attaché to the U.S., Air Commodore Jibrin Usman.
As well as the Lead Foreign Liaison Officer on the aircraft, AVM Sule Lawal, and senior management staff of EDSI. (NAN)