President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived Kaduna state on Thursday, February 15, to commission an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) built by the Nigerian Air Force.
The Tsaigumi UAV is the first indigenous operational Remotely Piloted Aircraft designed and produced by personnel of the Nigerian Air Force.
NAIJ.COM gathered that it will be deployed for military operations in the northeast after the induction ceremony.
The NAF’s Research and Development Centre where the aircraft was produced has undergone a major face-lift under the leadership of the Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Saddique Abubakar.
The move is part of the NAF’s resolve to promote innovation and enhance its Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
The Tsaigumi UAV was produced by NAF Aerospace Engineers in collaboration with UAVision of Portugal, and would be used for ISR operations in land and sea domains.
It could also be used for policing operations, disaster management, convoy protection, maritime patrol, pipeline and power line monitoring as well as mapping and border patrol duties.
In addition, it could be deployed for the protection of wildlife, weather forecast and telecast.
Additionally, in the maritime domain, the Tsaigumi UAV could be used for search and rescue, coastal monitoring and patrol of Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
The UAV, which is capable of day and night operations, has an operational endurance in excess of 10 hours, a service ceiling of 15,000 feet and a mission radius of 100km. It has a maximum take-off weight of 95kg and its payload is an electro-optic/infra-red camera system.
In his remarks at the event, President Muhammadu Buhari commended the NAF under the leadership of Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar for his determination and unwavering commitment to Research and Development (R&D).
He stated that the attainment of the technological feat is an indication that Nigeria has the needed potential to surmount other technological needs.
He noted that UAVs are an essential feature of modern armed forces, adding that he considered it most gratifying that the NAF had gone a step further from simply acquiring them, to developing indigenous technology to produce them.
“Indeed, this outstanding accomplishment holds promise of both military and economic benefit to the nation. From the military perspective, the added capacity for ISR provided by Tsaigumi UAV would undoubtedly boost ongoing and future security operations,” the president added.
While urging the NAF to strive for greater innovation, President Buhari promised that the Federal Government would continue to provide the needed support, for the benefit of the nation. The president then urged state governments, ministries, departments and agencies to acquire the NAF UAV as required.
In his welcome address, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar reiterated the commitment of the NAF to R&D so as to develop unprecedented capacity to surmount current and emerging security challenges.
The CAS explained that the newly produced Tsaigumi UAV possesses certain salient physical and performance parameters, which position it as an efficient tool for curbing Internal Security challenges.
The CAS posited that history and modern experience attest to the role of the military in bringing about innovations that have revolutionized not just warfare capability but human capacity as a whole.
“Indeed, many of the technologies that enhance human life and safety today emerged from R&D; radar, jet engines, satellite tracking, digital photography, Internet and others,” the CAS added.
According to the CAS, today’s feat would have been impossible if not for the unflinching financial support that the service has continued to receive from the Federal Government. Air Marshal Abubakar added that the NAF would not rest on its oars regarding R&D.
Accordingly, having achieved enhanced ISR capability, the next step for the NAF is to perfect the development of another UAV nicknamed “Ichoku,” which would be the first indigenous Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV).
After unveiling the Tsaigumi UAV, President Buhari was led on a guided tour of other recent and ongoing NAF R&D projects, which were on display.
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