In this regard, a NAF team of R&D specialists, led by the Chief of Standards and Evaluation at Headquarters NAF, Air Vice Marshal Kingsley Lar, has commenced a tour of selected institutions in South West Nigeria with whom the NAF has MoUs. The purpose of the tour is to restate NAF’s commitment to the existing MoUs, evaluate current joint projects and explore new areas that could immediately add value to the NAF in the fight against insurgency.
The 3-man NAF Team is also looking into new training opportunities. So far, the Team has visited Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile Ife, Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), University of Ibadan (UI) and the National Machine Tools Limited Osogbo. The team is also scheduled to visit the University of Lagos, Yaba College of Technology, Covenant University and Lagos State University before returning to Abuja on 10 November 2017.
OAU is the Centre of Excellence in Software Engineering, a programme that is funded by the World Bank. Consequently, during the visit, the University restated its willingness to partner with the NAF in providing Information Technology solutions. Furthermore, OAU indicated its intention to establish an Aeronautical Department for which it seeks the NAF’s partnership for specialists and consultancy. FUTA, on the other hand, is the West African Service Centre for Climate Change and Adaptive Land Use.
The visit, therefore, revealed the university’s readiness to continue to partner with the NAF in the areas of meteorology and cloud computing, both of which are critical to NAF air operations. In addition, the Machine Tools Limited at Osogbo offers training in machine tools operations and has Computer Numerically Controlled machines that could be used for production of some aircraft parts and tools. Meanwhile, the expertise of UI in electrical and electronics offers tremendous opportunities for the maintenance of NAF aircraft and related equipment.
It would be recalled that one of the key drivers of the vision of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, is “Strategic partnerships with MDAs for enhanced Research and Development”. Accordingly, the NAF has so far signed MoUs with 19 universities, other tertiary institutions and research agencies, including key industries.
The partnership has aided NAF operational readiness through the timely production of some aircraft parts and tools at more cost effective prices. Interestingly, most of the locally made parts and tools are adapted to our environment and are thus more durable.
The NAF is also benefitting from the training of its personnel, especially technologists, at some of the institutions with attendant positive effect on aircraft serviceability. It is envisaged that with the huge resources and talents in our institutions, the NAF would soon be able to domesticate most of its aircraft maintenance activities up to Depot Level.
The next series of tours by the NAF Team would be to the NAF partnering institutions in South South/South East, North East, North Central and North West, in that order.