The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has been commended for its innovative efforts in Research and Development (R&D). The commendations came from dignitaries and numerous visitors to NAF Exhibition Stand at the just concluded 2019 Technology and Innovation Expo organized by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology for Federal Research Institutes, Universities, Polytechnics, Investors, Inventors, Innovators, as well as Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). The week-long event, which held from 14 – 18 January 2019, at Michael Okpara Square, Enugu, with the Theme: “Science, Technology and Innovation for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Growth”, was aimed at encouraging innovative utilization of Nigeria’s indigenous knowledge and technology to produce marketable goods and services.

The 6-man NAF Research Team was led by the Director of Research and Development Headquarters NAF, Air Commodore Ahmed Shinkafi, who also served on the panel of assessors along with other resource persons from reputable research organisations and members of the Academia. Among the locally made hardware exhibited by the NAF at the Expo were a Hexacopter, 30.1mm Rocket and Hydraulic Diaphragm for the Mi-series Helicopter, which were the efforts of the Air Force Research and Development Centre (AFRDC) and the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), in partnership with universities and research institutions in the country.

During the tour of exhibition stands, the Guest of Honour, President Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, represented by Barrister Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, commended the NAF for innovative research efforts towards sustaining national development. The Event also had in attendance the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Rt Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, as well as representatives from various research institutes, industries, schools, private organisations and parastatals. At the end of the exhibition, certificates of participation and prizes were presented to participants.

As part of efforts towards reinforcing the culture of self-reliance and prudent management of resources, the current NAF leadership has recorded unprecedented feats in R&D. In this regard, the NAF has entered into Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with about 20 universities, research institutes and technology facilities. As a result, in the last three and half years, the NAF has developed unprecedented capacity, leading to some significant R&D breakthroughs such as the local reactivation and weaponization of an Mi-17 and 2 x EC-135 helicopters for deployment in the ground attack role. Others are the design and production of a test bench for the Alpha Jet anti-skid system as well as the local production of heat shield protective cones for the Alpha Jet aircraft rocket pods. The Service also successfully weaponized the L-39ZA trainer aircraft and Bell 412 helicopters as well as 3 x Alpha Jet aircraft whose weapon systems were reconfigured locally to carry both the Western Bloc and Eastern Bloc rocket launchers.

Air Commodore
Director of Public Relations and Information
Nigerian Air Force