Nigeria’s first A-29B makes maiden flight

Embraer Defense & Security and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) have announced that Nigeria’s first A-29B Super Tucano light attack aircraft has successfully completed its maiden flight.

The flight took place on April 16 at Embraer Defense & Security/SNC’s production facility in Jacksonville, Florida – where a full complement of 12 aircraft are being produced for the Nigerian Air Force (NAF). First deliveries are expected to take place next year.

Nigerian A-29 [Embraer Defense & Security] #1
Nigeria's first A-29B Super Tucano during its first flight. Embraer Defense & Security

Following the success of this milestone, the NAF’s A-29B aircraft will now undergo mission modification and final testing in Centennial, Colorado. Once completed, NAF pilots will train on the aircraft in the US before deliveries begin. The aircrew will be trained by the USAF's 81st Fighter Squadron Panthers at Moody Air Force Base (AFB), Georgia.

Jackson Schneider, president and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security, said: “This is an exciting milestone in the production of these A-29s for the Nigerian Air Force. The Jacksonville production line is active, and Embraer and SNC look forward to seeing these aircraft continue to roll off the line in the coming months.”

 

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Nigeria has ordered the 12 aircraft through the US State Department’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. The request was approved and formally agreed by December 2017, with SNC being awarded the production contract – worth US$329m – in late 2018. The sale includes ground training devices, mission planning and debrief systems, US-based and outside of continental US (OCONUS) contractor logistics support, spares, ground support and alternate mission equipment.

Ed Topps, vice president of Tactical Aircraft Systems and programmes for SNC’s IAS business area, said: “The aircraft met or exceeded all the requirements and we are very pleased with the successful flight… SNC and our partner, Embraer, are certain the Nigerian Air Force will be pleased with these aircraft.”

The A-29 is a low-cost turboprop-driven light attack aircraft which can be used as a solution for advanced flight/combat training and close air support (CAS) operations, along with performing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), counterinsurgency, armed overwatch and irregular warfare scenario missions.