The plan by the Federal Government for the take-off of the first Made-In-Nigeria helicopter has received a boost with the collaboration between the National Agency for Science and Engineering (NASENI) and the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), Kaduna, Kaduna State for the smooth take-off of the permanent site of Aeronautics and Air Vehicle Development Institute (AAVDI).
AAVDI is an Institute under NASENI.
A statement by Mr. Olusegun Ayeoyenikan, the Director Information & Protocol, NASENI, said that Dr. Bashir Gwandu, the Executive Vice Chairman, NASENI canvassed for the strong relationship between the two government agencies.
The statement hinted that Gwandu stated this recently when Air Vice Marshal (AVM) S.L. Rabe, the new Commandant of AFIT, paid him a courtesy visit at NASENI headquarters in Abuja.
Rabe, who expressed delight with the visit, hoped that this would lead to improved relationship with NASENI to develop AADVI and also fast track the on-going work on made-in-Nigeria helicopter.
He promised to work with NASENI and asked that AFIT staff should be part of training for unskilled talents such as welding and others.
“I am of the opinion that the AFIT staff should be part of the NASENI training to gain knowledge from the training,” he said.
In his response, Gwandu assured that the organisation would work with the Air Force and the military establishment.
He said the main reason for having the helicopter and the AAVDI was for Nigeria to be self-reliant in aviation technology, noting that there would be manufacturing of components for the helicopter and other aircrafts that NASENI could produce.
“We can train people to learn to produce the components. Like I said, we have been looking at different components of aircraft in particular and how we can penetrate that industry.
“We produce a lot of titanium in this country, as we know the body of aircraft in particular use composite materials, which do not work with aluminum as we all know because of corrosion. One of the key projects I am working on is getting a team to work on titanium.
“I have companies that I am talking to courtesy of your colleague at NASENI. We will work with what we have to produce some of the parts. We have Institutes like HEDI in Kano that produce hydraulics that are needed in aviation. We are trying to form a team that we can train in different areas of aerospace such as satellites, down to aircraft aviation.”
Gwandu informed that one of the key projects the institute discussed was on the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility in Abuja, stressing that rather than take all the aircraft out for maintenance abroad, the institute could maintain them in the country through its facility.