The Pentagon has formally notified the U.S. Congress of the sale to Nigeria of 12 Super Tucano A-29 planes and weapons worth $593 million, which the country wants for its fight against the militant group, Boko Haram.
The move on the sale, which included thousands of bombs and rockets and was originally agreed by former President Barack Obama’s administration, was announced by the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, a Reuters report said.
The Super Tucano A-29, an agile, propeller-driven plane with reconnaissance and surveillance as well as attack capabilities, is made by Brazil’s Embraer. A second production line is in Florida, in a partnership between Embraer and privately held Sierra Nevada Corp of Sparks, Nevada.
The Super Tucano costs more than $10 million each, and the price can go much higher depending on the configuration. It is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT 6 engine.
The Obama administration delayed the deal after incidents including the Nigerian Air Force’s bombing of a refugee camp in January that killed no fewer than 170 civilians.
President Donald Trump has said he plans to go ahead with foreign defense sales delayed under Obama, by human rights concerns.
The Nigerian military has been trying to crush the Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group that says it is against western education and civilization. Since the previously unknown group gained traction in the northeastern Nigeria in 2010, thousands have been killed and displaced as it unleashed a reign of terror and primitive rule in remote communities and villages in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States.
Thousands of displaced residents of the area are still living in makeshift refugee camps spread across the zone.
However, with huge successes recorded in the last three years, the military has captured dozens of Boko Haram commanders and restricted their attacks to mostly soft targets within Borno State.