Members of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Defence are currently in the United States of America on inspection tour of Embraer Defence Security Incorporated, manufacturers of the Nigerian Air Force A-29 Super Tucano aircraft.
This was said to be part of the oversight functions of the Joint Committee.
A statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, NAF Headquarters, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, stated that the joint committee members were in the US to assess the status and progress of work on the aircraft.
According to Gabkwet, on arrival at EDSI, the team, led by Senator Michael Nnachi, was briefed on the progress of work on the aircraft programme and the scheduled date of delivery.
While briefing the National Assembly team, Colonel Authur Ford of the US 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 years 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 US, Air Commodore Jibrin Usman, as well as the Lead Foreign Liaison Officer on the aircraft, Air Vice Marshal Sule Lawal, and senior management staff of EDSI.