Concerns are growing over the decision of the Nigerian government to purchase 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft from the United States.
David Kuranga, an investment and political risk consultant, described the warplanes as “crop dusters” and advised the government against going ahead with the purchase.
Mr. Kuranga, who is the managing director of Kuranga and Associates, in the statement, said the warplanes fall below the standard of aircraft used by even the military of African countries such as Egypt and South Africa.
“In a conventional match-up or joint-task force, if Nigeria were ever asked to partner in a multi-national coalition with middle-income nations like Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, or Indonesia, the Nigerian “Air Force” equipped with the A-29 light attack fighters would be joke!” he wrote in a statement.
“They are comparatively slow, fly at lower altitudes, and are much more susceptible to anti-aircraft artillery that even rebel fighters in Mali were in possession of,” he wrote.
Mr. Kuranga also said that the warplanes are too expensive even as they are inadequate for serious military operations. He said they would constitute waste of taxpayers’ money.
“The fact that the Nigerian government is considering putting in over a 100 million dollars of state money to purchase these inadequate aircraft, as a means of upgrading Nigeria’s air defenses is a laughable! Further it is a poor investment and a waste of state resources.”
He said he found it baffling that the US authorities were seeking to block the sale of the obsolete warplanes to Nigeria when they should be thankful that the Nigerian government is relieving them of such antiquated aircraft.
He said Nigeria should aim to buy more advance warplanes that will put it at par with other militaries in the continent.