UNILAG to partner NAF on drone software development


The University of Lagos (UNILAG) management is set to partner with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on the development of software for the Force’s drone programme.

This is as part of efforts by the university to cement ties with the NAF in Research and Development (R&D).

The UNILAG Vice Chancellor, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe stated this during a visit to the NAF headquarters last Thursday. He was received by the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Sadique Abubakar.

Ogundipe who was represented by a UNILAG delegation led by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Development Services, Folasade Ogunsola congratulated the NAF on the recent launch of its first indigenous operational Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

He added that the visionary leadership of Air Marshal Abubakar was, without doubts, contributing meaningfully to national development.

EduCeleb.com reports that an existing agreement between the NAF and UNILAG is set to expire in May 2018. This visit was thus a medium to seek towards a renewal of the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between both parties.

Professor Ogunsola sought that the MOU was renewed and expanded in scope.

While noting that the military drives R&D globally, Ogunsola stated that the University of Lagos also possesses required competencies and would love to partner with the NAF to achieve the desired technological development in Nigeria.

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According to her, challenges serve as a motivation for the University to achieve more, adding that some of the University’s areas of competencies include nanotechnology, coding, cyber security and medical sciences, amongst others.

She therefore expressed her belief in a mutually beneficial relationship between the NAF and the University of Lagos possibly leading to investigation of the crashworthiness of NAF’s UAVs and the development of software for UAVs, for example.

Ogunsola also appealed to NAF authorities to encourage its personnel to make use of the University’s various certification programmes to validate their skills, as that would make them relevant both in active service and upon retirement.

In his response, Air Marshal Abubakar told the visiting Vice Chancellor that it was practically impossible to resolve the nation’s security challenges without a strong and viable Air Force that is capable of effectively projecting air power even beyond our shores.

The CAS revealed that the NAF had relied solely on other countries for even the most basic of its aircraft maintenance needs.

This, he noted had posed a huge challenge to the effective and efficient delivery of airpower and hence, the need to look inward towards developing indigenous capacity.

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The CAS remarked that the University of Lagos had on its staff strength, individuals who are familiar with the technological challenges of the NAF and who also possess the skills to resolve them.

He mentioned some of the challenges and reiterated the NAF’s desire to leverage on those competencies to address some of its technological needs in line with the subsisting MoU between both parties.

Air Marshal Abubakar immediately directed the NAF’s Chief of Standard and Evaluations to commence the process of reviewing the subsisting MoU to expand its scope by including newly identified technical needs of the NAF.

The CAS equally seized the opportunity to announce plans by the NAF to hold an R&D Night during which the technological feats of its partnering academic and other institutions would be celebrated.

EduCeleb.com recalls that the NAF has been championing R&D in Nigeria, especially in aerospace technology and has in the process, signed MoU with several Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions, research agencies as well as strategic industries.

Aside UNILAG, the NAF has active partnerships with the Kwara State University, the University of Maiduguri, and National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), amongst others.

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The MoUs have so far yielded tremendous benefits in the areas of aircraft and equipment maintenance with attendant positive impact on NAF air operations.

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