Construction work of a made-in-Nigeria helicopter is in progress.
The project jointly executed by the Airforce Institute of Technology , AFIT and the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure(NASENI) is to be launched before the end of President ,Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in 2023
While briefing the commandant of AFIT, the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna explained that part of the Presidential directives was that all NASENI projects in Aeronautics should be relocated to AFIT and to be included in the collaborations between the two institutions.
At the official handover of space and hangar(Helipad) including the runaway for test-flight of the Helicopter located in Airforce Institute in kaduna, Prof Haruna said recently, in order to fast-track works on the Helicopter Project, the President directed the relocation of the Project from NASENI’s site in Abuja to AFIT in kaduna, Kaduna State.
NASENI in 2017 entered into technical agreement with Dynali Helicopter Company in Belgium for the actualisation of the project before the latest directive by Mr.President that the project should be expanded to include collaboration with AFIT and the subsequent relocation of the project for its continuation at the Airforce institute in Kaduna.
Prof Haruna stressed that both the military science and knowledge by civilians should be harnessed for the benefits of the larger Nigerian society.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI who was highly elated by the development explained that the journey to seeing the NASENI first-made-in Nigeria helicopter is coming gradually to fruition.
In his response, the Commandant of AFIT, Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Yakubu said the directive from the President “is a task which both NASENI and AFIT must carry out with all the resources that are required to bring the dream to pass”. “We are determined to collaborate to make the dream on the made-in-Nigeria helicopter become a reality”, he said.
Air Vice Marshal Yakubu affirmed that the collaboration between NASENI & AFIT would launch Nigeria into relevance in the world of aviation with the proposed involvement in aircraft design and development.
“The high capacity and manpower in this area have made the AFIT acquired experts of about ten (10) Ph.Ds in aeronautics, he disclosed”.
The Airforce is at the verge of developing unmanned aerial vehicles as AFIT has gone very far in the design and manufacturing of air vehicles, stating further that the collaboration to produce the First made in Nigeria helicopter between the two organisations was sacrosanct and therefore would be pursued with vigour in the days and months ahead.
According to the terms of the collaboration, some NASENI technical staff will be resident in AFIT for adequate interface for the purpose of sharing knowledge and technical capacity.
The handing over ceremony took place and the following items were handed over to the Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI: the hangar, office space and run-way, where on completion of the aircraft, the Made in Nigeria helicopter will embark on test-flight.
Reporting by Rabi Momoh, editing by Daniel Adejo