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NAF, NASENI to finalise work on first made-in-Nigeria helicopter 

By Guardian Nigeria
22 June 2022   |   4:00 am
The Nigeria Airforce (NAF), in partnership with the National Agency for Science and Engineering (NASENI) have finalised arrangement in producing the first made-in-Nigeria helicopter, which would be launched in the country before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure in May 2023.

The Nigeria Airforce (NAF), in partnership with the National Agency for Science and Engineering (NASENI) have finalised arrangement in producing the first made-in-Nigeria helicopter, which would be launched in the country before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure in May 2023.

Already, the Airforce Institute of Technology (AFIT), which is the research and development (R&D) arm of the Nigeria Airforce and the NASENI have been directed by the Presidency to ensure that the local helicopter production’s dream becomes a reality soon.

Both AFIT and NASENI have taken up the challenge of completing all works on the first Made-in-Nigeria helicopter initiated by NASENI and which President Buhari had directed should be launched before the end of his administration in 2023.

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.

The official handover of space and hanger (helipad) including the runaway for test-flight of the Helicopter located at Airforce Institute took place yesterday, in kaduna.

Besides, President Buhari as the Chairman of the Governing Board of NASENI, directed that all effort must be geared into fufilling the legacy, just as the officials of AFIT and the Agency have embarked on sourcing local and foreign contents for the production of the helicopter.

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.

While briefing the Commandant of AFIT, the Chief Executive of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna said 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.

Responding, the commandant of AFIT, Air Vice Marshal Mohammed Aminu Yakubu said that the directive from the President “is a task that 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 a reality,” he said.

Buhari’s directive also stated that AFIT shall provide space and helipad for the NASENI helicopter and to relocate the project to AFIT so that the two institutions could collaborate.

Yakubu remarked that the collaboration between NASENI and AFIT was “the clincher collaboration to launch Nigeria into relevance in the world of aviation with the proposed involvement in aircraft design and development.”

He said: “the high capacity and manpower in this area has made the AFIT acquired experts about ten (10) Ph.Ds in aeronautics”. The Airforce is at the verge of developing unmanned aerial vehicles. AFIT has gone very far in the design and manufacturing of air vehicles”.

Yakubu stressed 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.”

Meanwhile, 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 of some facilities by AFIT officials took place yesterday, just as the following items were handed over to NASENI boss- the hanger, office space and run-way, where on completion of the aircraft, the Made in Nigeria helicopter will embark on test-flight.

Prof Haruna who was elated by the development explained that “the journey to seeing the NASENI first-made-in Nigeria helicopter is coming gradually to fruition.”

While speaking with journalists, Haruna said “the journey to produce the First made in Nigeria helicopter began in 2017 and therefore now gradually coming towards its desired target.”