In a bid to advance its Research and Development (R & D) efforts aimed at promoting indigenous technology to sustain platforms and equipment serviceability, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and Equipment and Protective Applications International Limited (EPAIL).
The partnership, which would further reduce NAF’s over-dependence on foreign technology and make it more innovative and resourceful, covers areas of human capacity development and production of security systems as well as personal protective equipment, a statement by the NAF Spokesperson, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Oladayo Amao who was represented by the Chief of Standards and Evaluation, Air Vice Marshal Olusegun Philip noted that collaboration with organizations such as ITF and EPAIL were necessary if the NAF was to realize its objective of moving the Nation and the Service towards becoming technologically advanced and self-reliant.
The MoUs, the CAS said, would facilitate solution-driven techniques to NAF’s technical challenges which would in turn translate to greater operational efficiency for the Service.
He noted that in line with the focus of the Federal Government towards promoting indigenous technology, the NAF has been looking inwards to gradually wean itself of overdependence on foreign technology and be more innovative and resourceful as aptly encapsulated in 2 of the key drivers of his vision.
Air Marshal Amao further noted that through collaboration with other organizations and agencies, the NAF has been able to produce items such as autopilot cassettes and hydraulic diaphragms for the Mi-35 helicopter and L-39ZA trainer aircraft. Other R&D feats recorded include production of Alpha-Jet aircraft anti-skid brake system test bench and batteries for the Mi-helicopters series.
According to him, “these and many other innovative efforts have provided the impetus for the NAF to effectively project air power in support of friendly forces.”
While responding on behalf of the MoU partners, the Director General ITF, Sir Joseph Ari, noted that the MoUs would establish a framework through which the signatories would work together in an effort to nurture a cooperative and win-win relationship among the 3 institutions as well as enhance productivity.
“You have dependable allies in us. We will pursue the MoUs with the vigour and seriousness it deserves for our overall benefits,” he said. He also commended the CAS for his leadership acumen which has better positioned the NAF for operational effectiveness and called on Nigerians to be supportive of the efforts of the military as they make efforts towards safeguarding the entire nation.
The NAF currently has 32 active MoUs with various organizations, agencies and universities nationwide. Its MOU with the ITF is mainly centered towards human capacity development.
On the other hand, EPAIL is a private company involved in the indigenous manufacturing of security systems and personal protective equipment that would be of benefit to the NAF.
The event was witnessed by branch heads and directors from NAF headquarters and directors from both ITF and EPAIL.