The executive vice-chairman/chief executive officer of the National Agency for Science and Engineering (NASENI), Dr. Bashir Gwandu has called for a stronger collaboration with the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), Kaduna, Kaduna State, to facilitate the smooth take-off of the permanent site of the Aeronautics and Air Vehicle Development Institute (AAVDI) under NASENI. This institute is situated within the AFIT Complex in Kaduna.
During a courtesy visit to NASENI headquarters in Abuja, the new commandant of AFIT, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) S.L. Rabe, along with other AFIT representatives, expressed his commitment to working closely with NASENI in developing AAVDI and expediting progress on the made-in-Nigeria helicopter. He proposed that AFIT staff should be involved in training for unskilled talents, such as welding, to further enhance collaboration.
Gwandu emphasised the importance of collaboration, stating that it will enable Nigeria to be self-reliant in aviation technology. The development of the helicopter and AAVDI is expected to facilitate the manufacturing of aircraft components within the country, and NASENI aims to train people in producing these components. Additionally, the agencies are looking into forming a team to receive training in various aerospace areas, including satellites and aircraft aviation.
Regarding the MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) project in Abuja, Gwandu expressed the need to establish it locally, as this central location is ideal for servicing aircraft from various parts of Africa.
NASENI and AFIT have established a partnership wherein AFIT will provide the necessary land and infrastructure for the AAVDI project. In return, NASENI will collaborate with AFIT on prefabricated structures and provide technical teams for skills acquisition programs and training workshops. Both parties will also engage in joint research and development activities.
The relocation of the NASENI Made-in-Nigeria helicopter project to AFIT, as well as the establishment of AAVDI within AFIT, were ordered by then-president, Muhammadu Buhari on December 21, 2021. This collaboration is expected to accelerate Nigeria’s progress in the aviation industry and promote self-sufficiency in advanced technology.