The Nigerian Air Force, NAF, has recorded more Research and Development, R&D, breakthroughs, which it showcased during the 47th convocation ceremony of the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) in Kaduna.
The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, AVM Olatokunbo Adesanya, who disclosed this in a statement on Saturday in Abuja, said the event occurred on Friday.
Mr Adesanya said the projects included a prototype Oleo-Pneumatic Shock Absorber for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), an Automatic Solar Tracking System and a Rocket Launcher Circuit Test Box.
Others were a prototype of Light Weight Helicopter, an Unmanned Hexacopter as well as the adaptation and installation of BO-105 Helicopter guns on the Bell 412 Helicopters recently handed over to the NAF by the Federal Government.
Mr Adesanya said that 257 students were awarded diploma and degree certificates comprising of 102 NAF personnel, 2 Nigerian Army personnel, 3 Nigerian Navy personnel and 150 civilians during the ceremony.
Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), who was the Special Guest of Honour, was taken on a guided tour of the exhibition stand for the new Research and Development breakthroughs.
Mr Adesanya said that the Oleo-Pneumatic Shock Absorber was designed and produced by AFIT students, using entirely materials sourced locally.
He said that the system has been comprehensively tested and would be used on UAVs that would be subsequently produced by the NAF.
He said that the Automatic Solar Tracker was designed by AFIT students to maximize the harvest of solar energy, while the Rocket Launcher Circuit Test Box was developed to test continuity in rocket launchers in aid of maintenance activities on NAF’s fighter aircraft.
Mr Adesanya said the SGF and other dignitaries were also briefed that an R&D Team from AFIT had also successfully provided weapon for the Bell 412 Helicopters by adapting the guns that were procured in the 1970s for the now de-commissioned BO-105 Helicopters.
“Two pods, comprising 2 guns each, have already been installed on one of the Bell 412 Helicopters and successfully test-fired both on the ground and in the air.
“This will save the nation considerable foreign exchange that would have otherwise been expended in purchasing and installing new guns.
“Another significant breakthrough on display was the multipurpose Unmanned Hexacopter, which was designed and constructed in-house by a team of AFIT staff and students led by Flight Lieutenant Nkemdilim Ofodile.
“The Hexacopter, which was again successfully demonstrated, is designed for both military and civilian applications such as aerial surveillance, mapping, policing operations and pipeline monitoring, among others,” he said.
The NAF spokesman quoted the SGF as expressing delight with the giant strides made by the NAF in the areas of human capacity development and R&D.
Mr Mustapha commended the NAF leadership for the progress in AFIT, especially the synergy of effort between military and civilian institutions.
He, then, charged the graduating students to aim to be globally competitive and gear up to conquer the world.