KAINJI AIR BASE, Nigeria (AFNS) --
Less than two years after 12 A-29 Super Tucanos were inducted into the Nigerian Air Force, a $38-million project to construct new facilities for the aircraft was successfully completed at Kainji Air Base.
To celebrate the occasion, the Nigerian Ministry of Defence hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony April 27, attended by senior members of the U.S. Department of Defense.
“This ceremony marks the end of the construction process and the turnover of new facilities to the Nigerian Air Force for its use,” said Brig. Gen. Joel Safranek, director of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate, which organized and led the security cooperation agreement. “The A-29 provides light attack, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities needed to confront security threats and the newly constructed facilities provide the support needed to keep the aircraft operational and effective. The United States looks forward to a long-term, enduring relationship with Nigeria.”
The effort, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is AFSAC’s first major construction project in sub-Saharan Africa and is part of a larger $500 million total package approach, to include the acquisition, training and long-term sustainment of the aircraft.
Some of the major construction upgrades include the creation of a munition storage area with earth-covered magazines for secure storage capability. The area also includes a munitions maintenance and assembly facility, new taxiway and hot cargo pad.
To support A-29 operations, a new facility with mission planning and debriefing rooms and a Battle Aviation Training Device was constructed.
The team also modernized an existing hangar, adding more electrical capability to maintain the aircraft and renovating the tire shop and battery room. In addition, 12 sunshades were installed to provide sun protection for maintenance crews and the aircraft when they are not in a hangar.
The construction project also significantly increased security infrastructure with the installation of miles of fencing and improvements to base entry control points.
“I'm excited to be part of this project,” said David Snook, program manager for facilities and infrastructure within AFSAC. “It’s extremely important work and a lot of effort went into it from everybody involved. The facilities and the aircraft will provide the Nigerian Air Force an advantage as they support their country’s national security.”
“I look forward to our continued actions to make the A-29 fleet successful in strengthening Nigeria’s national security,” added Valerie Halvorsen, AFLCMC program manager for A-29 Nigeria Foreign Military Sales. “The A-29 is important, not only to the region, but also our collective security posture to address challenges around the world.”