Sierra Nevada Corp., Centennial, Colorado, has been awarded a $329,076,750 undefinitized contract action (UCA) for 12 Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC)-Embraer A-29 Super Tucano light-attack turboprops aircraft for the Nigerian Air Force. The US Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded prime contractor SNC USD329.08 million for the 12 aircraft, with a further USD15.65 million potentially earmarked for forward-looking infrared (FLIR) sensors on six aircraft. This piece is projected to be funded soon after UCA award. In addition to 12 A-29 Super Tucano light-attack aircraft, the current Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract provides for ground training devices, mission planning systems, mission debrief systems, spares, ground support equipment, alternate mission equipment, contiguous U.S. interim contractor support, outside of continental U.S. (OCONUS) contractor logistic support, and five field service representatives for OCONUS support for three years.
The aircraft will be built by Embraer at its plant in Jacksonville, Florida, before being modified by SNC at its Centennial, Colorado, facility. The final aircraft is due for delivery in 2024. Foreign military sales funds in the amount of $220,167,735 are being obligated at the time of award. It is likely that training will be conducted by the U.S. Air Force at Moody AFB, Georgia, where crews from SNC’s other A-29 customers have undergone instruction. Afghanistan has received 26 A-29s from SNC through the U.S. Air Force’s Light Air Support program, while the Lebanese air force bought six. The last of them was delivered in June this year. Embraer has already achieved considerable success in the African market for the Super Tucano, which has been delivered to Angola, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Mauritania, with orders from Ghana and Senegal.
Delivery of the A-29s will improve the Nigerian Air Force’s attack capability against Boko Haram and ISIS West Africa insurgents. Six of the aircraft will have electro-optical turrets, significantly improving the NAF’s ability to attack pinpoint targets. The contract includes the provision of training devices, spares and logistics, mission planning systems and contractor logistic support including field service representatives. President Trump signaled an intention to proceed with the sale in April 2017, at which point Nigeria made an official request, despite causing some domestic political controversy due to the sums involved. U.S. Congressional approval was received in August for a deal that is estimated to be worth nearly $600 million.
The Embraer A-29 Super Tucano, also named ALX or EMB 314, is a Brazilian turboprop light attack aircraft designed and built by Embraer as a development of the Embraer EMB 312 Tucano. The A-29 Super Tucano carries a wide variety of weapons, including precision-guided munitions, and was designed to be a low-cost system operated in low-threat environments. The Super Tucano is turboprop light air support aircraft meant for attacking and reconnaissance of lightly-defended enemy territory. In 2008, the U.S. Navy began testing the Super Tucano at the behest of the U.S. Special Operations Command for its potential use to support special warfare operations, giving it the official U.S. designation A-29B. In addition to its manufacture in Brazil, Embraer has set up a production line in the United States in conjunction with Sierra Nevada Corporation for the A-29’s many export customers.