Senior officials from the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense, along with Nigerian Air Force representatives, celebrated the completion of $38 million in improvements to the Kainji Air Force Base on April 27, 2023.
The project is vital to support the operation and maintenance of the A-29 Super Tucano wing and its associated munitions stationed there. The improvements were part of a historic $500 million U.S. foreign military sale to Nigeria, which also included the delivery of 12 A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, precision munitions and training to enhance air-to-ground integration and improve the accuracy of airstrikes to prevent civilian harm.
The U.S. Chargé d’Affaires for Nigeria, David Greene expressed his gratitude for the partnership and commitment of the U.S. and Nigerian Air Forces, stating that Nigeria’s A-29 programme is the largest U.S. foreign military sale to date in sub-Saharan Africa. He added that it is an example of Nigeria’s leadership in contributing to security and stability at home and in the region.
“Since my arrival in Nigeria last year, I have had the privilege of closely following the A-29 programme’s progress. Today, it is my honour to celebrate the successful partnership and commitment between the United States and Nigeria that made this achievement possible,” said Greene.
“The A-29 programme is the largest foreign military sales case to date from the United States to a Sub-Saharan African country, and Nigeria’s leadership is commendable. As exemplified by the Nigerian Air Force’s motto, ‘willing, able, and ready,’ Nigeria has demonstrated its commitment to enhancing security and stability not only within its borders but also throughout the region. We are proud to be partners with Nigeria in this endeavour.”
The Kainji Air Force Base improvements were delivered in two phases, with the first completed in the summer of 2021, enabling the safe delivery of the first A-29 aircraft. These aircraft now play a crucial role in the Nigerian Air Force’s operations against violent extremist organisations such as ISIS-West Africa and Boko Haram.
The second and final phase of the project, which includes better base security, munitions storage and maintenance, aircraft hangars and aprons and training facilities, is nearing completion to ensure the continued success of the fighter wing.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, which is part of the larger U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, North Atlantic Division, oversaw the construction of the Kainji Air Force Base improvements. Colonel John Lloyd, the North Atlantic Division Commander, expressed his pride in supporting international partners like Nigeria, providing unique engineering expertise to enhance security capabilities and contribute to regional security.
The U.S. Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate is managing the $500 million foreign military sale as part of its mission to administer security assistance programmes globally. Brigadier General Joel Safranek stated that the new capabilities would help address the growing security challenges in the region and counter the significant impact and threats posed to the people of Nigeria. He added that the partnership between the two countries and militaries proves that together they can accomplish great things that make Nigeria and the world a safer place.
“Today is a momentous occasion that fills us with pride, not only for Nigeria and its air force but also for the United States and our military branches,” stated Safranek. “The delivery of these advanced capabilities marks a significant milestone in our partnership and demonstrates our shared commitment to addressing the growing security challenges in the region. The threats faced by the people of Nigeria are significant and these capabilities will enable us to counter them effectively.
“This achievement is a testament to the strength of our partnership and the determination of our military allied partners. It is proof that, when we work together, we can achieve great things that make Nigeria and the world a safer place. We are honoured to stand with Nigeria in this important endeavour and look forward to continued collaboration in the future.”
The completion of the base’s improvements demonstrates the strong partnership between the US and Nigeria and is the largest U.S. foreign military sale in sub-Saharan Africa. The U.S. remains committed to supporting Nigeria in its efforts to build a peaceful and prosperous nation.