Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian of the United States Africa Command, says the induction of A-29 Super Tucanos into Nigerian Air Force operations, will be a defining moment in combating terrorism and other violent extremism.
Harrigian, who is the Commander, United States Air Forces in Europe and Africa, stated this at alla media roundtable on the U.S.-Nigeria military partnership, organised by the U.S Embassy, on Monday in Abuja.
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He said that the acquisition of the fighter aircraft for the Nigerian military had brought in a multitude of capabilities that would help in tackling the prevailing instability in Nigeria.
According to him, this truly is an opportunity to bring together the capabilities on the human side and what the A-29 brings to the nation, particularly as it will contribute to the security instability not only in Nigeria but more broadly the region.
“Importantly, the platform itself brings a multitude of capabilities and this is not just about weapons, it is about intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, it is about that operability that it provides between the air component and the ground component.
“And so, it broadens the shared understanding of the force to be able to operate in these different domains.
“And, we see this as a great opportunity to work together in these different areas to deepen our partnership look for future opportunities, whether it be training whether it be intelligence because part of what we offer and what we are going to work together is really the full package.
“And, when we talk about the maintenance of an aircraft, when we talk about the tactics techniques and procedures that the pilots use those are all things we are going to continue to refine together with the Nigerian Air Force.
“And, we see this as really an opportunity to broaden those areas where we have these shared values and areas that we’re going to work together to ultimately work to improve the security instability and work in partnership with all the things that the embassy does,” he said.
Harrigian commended the personnel of the Nigerian Air Force for exhibiting high level of competence and professionalism during their training.
He said the induction of A-29 Super Tucano into Nigerian operation would be an opportunity to recommit themselves to the partnership between the U.S Air Force and NAF.
He gave assurance that while the NAF crew and pilots had been adequately trained, the U.S. Air force personnel would continue to work with them in Nigeria.
The U.S. Ambassador, Mary Leonard, said that the induction of the A-29 Super Tucanos, was a significant milestone in the US.-Nigerian bilateral relations, adding that the U.S. had remained committed to support Nigeria fight insecurity.
Leonard said the U.S. government was also committed to supporting democracy and economic programmes of the government through the embassy.
She said that the government would also ensure that the full package with regards to the agreement between Nigerian and the U.S. would be fully implemented. (NAN)