The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Nigerian Air Force (NAF), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar has stated that the NAF as a highly technical service relies on technology as the bedrock for success in its operations.
The NAF boss, Air Marshal Abubakar, stated this on July 1, 2020, in Abuja while signing three additional Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), University of Benin (UNIBEN) and Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) to advance operational effectiveness of the Air Force.
The signing of the MoUs had in attendance the representatives of the organizations: the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), AIB, Engineer Akin Olateru; the Vice-Chancellor, UNIBEN, Professor Lillian Salami; and the President/CEO DBI, Engineer Professor Mohammed Ajiya.
Represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Oladayo Amao, Abubakar noted that, in line with the focus of the Federal Government in promoting indigenous technology, the NAF has, more than ever before, been looking inwards to gradually wean itself from over-dependence on foreign technology. He disclosed that this strategic policy posture had resulted in greater innovation and resourcefulness within the Service.
Abubakar stated further that collaboration with local organizations, by way of MoUs, remained critical, as it continues to serve as a pedestal to leapfrog existing capabilities as well as a repertoire of capacity that could be harnessed at short notice. He added that the MoUs would provide a platform to cross-fertilize ideas for greater innovation, ultimately leading to the achievement of meaningful solutions to the technological challenges of the Service and indeed the Nation, in a cost-effective manner.
According to him, the collaborative efforts of the NAF, he said, had produced auto-pilot cassettes for the Mi-35 Helicopter, emergency ventilator systems for COVID-19 patients as well hydraulic diaphragms for the Mi-35 helicopter and L-39ZA trainer aircraft. Other results of collaborative efforts of the NAF highlighted include the production of Alpha Jet anti-skid brake system test bench and batteries for the Mi series helicopters. He disclosed that the specific areas of the NAF’s collaboration with the AIB, UNIBEN, and DBI include aircraft accident investigation, aerospace technology, energy, software development, and robotics.
Speaking on behalf of the MoU partners, the UNIBEN Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lilian Salami, said they were delighted to formally renew the research and development collaboration with the NAF, noting that the years of close interaction with the Service had shown that the NAF places a high premium on professionalism through the acquisition of the appropriate education and skills.
She observed that this was critical to ensuring technological advancement in any field of endeavour and pledged that the MoU partners would work with a renewed commitment to understanding the new areas of technological challenges with a view to developing shared cost-effective solutions.
While delivering his welcome remarks, the Chief of Standards and Evaluation, AVM Remigius Ekeh, disclosed that the NAF had made giant strides in the area of research and development, especially in the last 5 years of the current NAF leadership. According to him, the CAS has inspired a lot of solutions to operational challenges in the NAF by investing in high-quality training of personnel, approving innovative approaches to issues and encouraging out-of-the-box thinking, thereby achieving credible results whilst saving scarce budgetary resources.