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All You Need To Know About FG’s $496m Tucano Aircraft Purchase

The Presidency has shared more details about the Federal government’s$496m Tucano helicopter purchase from the United States government.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari gave approval for the withdrawal of $462 million from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for the procurement of 12 Super Tucano aircraft from the United States government.

Here are 6 things to know about the government’s Tucano helicopter purchase

Summary

Defeating Boko Haram requires sophisticated aircrafts such as the Super Tucano with its capabilities of effectively decimating the insurgent camps in remote areas, as experienced in Colombia against FARC insurgents, Afghanistan, Ecuador, Indonesia  etc.

Capabilities of Super Tucano

  • The plane can carry a wide array of armaments, including precision – guided munitions, and is equipped with advanced avionics communications and remote sensors.

  • It has a maximum speed of 590 km per hour and a flight ceiling of 35,000 feet.

  • The plane is weaponised to carry a wide array of armaments, communication and reconnaissance intelligence gadgets  and is powered by a variant of the world’s most popular turboprop engine the Pratt & Whitney (UTX.N)

  • The Tucanos can be used for training, surveillance and attack.

  • The Tucanos offers the capability to operate from unimproved runways.

  • The Tucanos can fight from the air at less than 304 metres above ground battle.

Equipment to come with the Tucano Jets

  • Ammunitions

  • Group support equipment to be built.

  • Wing-mounted machine guns

  • Laser guided rockets

  • Maintenance infrastructure.

  • Advanced  surveillance precision guide

  • Each Tucano comes with two wing – mounted guns and carry up to 1,550kg pounds of weapons.

  • Hangar facilities and infrastructure

  • Night vision devices

  • Air to air missiles

Leahy Law passed by the US Congress

The law barrs US government from selling American arms to countries’ militaries with a history of human rights abuses.

. The law was used to block the sale of the Cobra helicopters by the Israelis to the Nigerian government in 2014.

Reason for Anticipatory Approval by Mr. President

  • The contract was time bound and it should be noted that that in the past, the US was not willing to sell weapons to Nigeria, now that they are ready to sell, it would be illogical to allow the February dateline lapse.

  • It is important to add that, the transaction was fully transparent as its Government to Government (G2G), the US government has acknowledged the receipt of the said sum and has presented a letter of intent to the Nigerian Airforce.

  • The security situation in the country is of utmost importance.

  • Anticipatory approval is not new in governance. All over the world, it is not odd for the president to apply this is to get crucial things bordering on national security done and then seek for adequate approval.

  • The planes will support Nigerian military operations against against insurgency and other security challenges.

Time Frame and Price

. The unit airframe costs between $10 – $12 m.

. However due logistics packages, weapons, and communications equipment, long-lead spares the unit price jacks up.

. The jets are  be established in the next 36 months, and delivered before the end of 2020.

 

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