The Chief of Standards and Evaluation, Nigerian Air Force (NAF), AVM Bala Abubakar, on Wednesday said that NAF might commercialise some of its projects in future for the development of the aviation industry.
Abubakar said this at the Logistics Command, NAF 2023 Inter-units Research and Development (R&D) Competition, which held at 631 Air Craft Maintenance Depot (ACMD) Hanger, Lagos.
The theme of the competition is “Improving Innovative R&D for Credible Logistics Support In Nigerian Air Force Operations”.
The AVM said that a lot of technology that had been developed by the department R&D in the Air Force had been patented by the National Office For Technology Acquisition and Promotion.
“Some of the technologies are strictly for military use in which case we may not be in a hurry to patent and produce for commercial use.
“However, those projects that are applicable to general aviation will be commercialised in the near future. The future is bright and the potential unlimited for the NAF,” he said.
Abubakar said that NAF embarked seriously on R&D in order to gradually stop depending on foreign vendors for materials as well as to save foreign exchange for the country.
“NAF is the most technologically based of the armed forces in Nigeria which implies that our operations, equipment and sustenance of operations are highly foreign dependent.
“This has a lot of security implications as well as the high cost associated with buying things from foreign vendors so it is important for NAF to embark seriously on R&D,” he said.
The AVM cited the development of the unmanned aerial vehicle, GULMA in 2013, as well as a more advanced version called Tsaigumi in 2018 as part of the achievements of the R&D.
“Other innovations include: the production of the MI-35 Hydraulic Accumulator Diaphragm and 30mm Canon Loader, Heat Shields Protective Cones, Break Pads, rivets and anti-skid test bench for the Alfa Jet Aircraft among many others.
“I believe that this event will bring out products which can be patented to aid the advancement of NAF operations in particular and the development of the nation,” Abubakar said.
The AVM said that the NAF policy on R&D had recently been reviewed to include implementation strategy for short, medium and long term use.
He said that the reviewed policy addressed the challenges experienced in the past, including funding support as well as technical collaboration.
“We have also renewed existing MoU as well as sign 50 more between NAF, tertiary institutions and other research institutes around the country,” Abubakar said.
He said that the NAF R&D Centre had recently relocated to Osogbo to form part of the multi-billion naira Aviation Village.
“The centre, when completed will leverage on its close proximity to the Osogbo Machine Tools Company, for parts fabrication and manufacturing.
“I urge our team of researchers to take advantage of this initiative to further enhance and consolidate our research efforts,” he said.
News reports that 635 NAF Armament Support Group (ASG), Kainji, emerged first position with the creation of the SUU-20 Bomb Dispenser Loader.
631 NAF ACMD, emerged second, with the creation of the Actuators Test Stand, while 671 NAF Station, Ibadan, was third for inventing the Intruder Detection System.