NAF signs MoU with UNIBEN, AIB on aerospace tech, accident investigation

The Nigerian Air Force on Wednesday, signed a Memoranda of Understanding with the University of Benin (UNIBEN), the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and Digital Bridge Institute on aircraft accident investigation, aerospace technology, energy, software development and robotics.

The partnership will also enhance NAF’s research and development capabilities.

MoUs with the three development partners had expired and were renewed by the NAF “in line with its focus on strategic partnerships with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)”.

The signing of the MoUs, which took place at Headquarters NAF, Abuja, were performed by Representatives of the three organizations, including: 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.

With the signing, the NAF now has 32 active MoUs with key MDAs in Nigeria.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao, stated that the NAF as a highly technical Service relies on technology as the bedrock for success in its operations.

He 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 had produced auto-pilot cassettes for the Mi-35 Helicopter, emergency ventilator systems for COVID-19 patients as well aa hydraulic diaphragms for the Mi-35 helicopter and L-39ZA trainer aircraft.

“Other results of collaborative efforts of the NAF include the production of Alpha Jet anti-skid break system test bench and batteries for the Mi series helicopters”.

He also 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 R&D collaboration with the NAF.

She noted that the years of close interaction with the Service had shown that the NAF places high premium on professionalism through the acquisition of the appropriate education and skills.

The Vice Chancellor also observed that this was critical to ensuring technological advancement in any field of endeavour, pledging that the MoU partners, would work with renewed commitment to understand the new areas of technological challenges with a view to developing shared, cost-effective solutions.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Chief of Standards and Evaluation, Air Vice Marshal Remigius Ekeh, disclosed that the NAF had made giant strides in the area of R&D, 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.

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