JULY 24, 2012,
Nigerian Air Force said in Kaduna on Monday it had commenced the process of developing a robot capable of defusing high calibre bomb even from afar.
The Commandant of the Nigerian Air Force Institute of Technology, Kaduna, Air Vice Marshal John Oshoniyi, who stated this at a news conference as part of activities marking the institution’s 41st graduation, also said the school had developed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for surveillance and intelligence gathering in crisis-prone parts of the country.
Oshoniyi said the bomb defusing robot would help check the spate of bombings across the country. According to him, the robot is operated by
remote control. He said, “We all know that human beings have always gone to defuse bombs and in view of the danger involved, anything can happen. Its because of this that we decided embark on research and the development of the bomb detonation robot. When we get to the time when we feel the public should know, we will show you (public).”
On the UAV codenamed, Amebo which, he claimed to be the first on the continent, the Commandant said the development of the vehicle was borne out of the transformation agenda of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Oshoniyi said, “We do believe that Nigeria is capable of attaining higher pedestal in military aviation and defence-related technology. “Accordingly, in tandem with Mr. President’s transformation agenda, AFIT has for the past few years been focusing on defence-related research and development activities as part of its contributions to the realisation of Mr. President’s vision.” He said the UAV would be employed in aerial surveillance to check the activities of pipeline vandals and other related crimes.
He said, “It is pertinent to note that following the successful launch of Amebo II last year, a modified and much improved version of the codenamed Amebo III was produced and exhibited during the Air Expo 2012 organised by the Nigerian Air Force.
This latest version is awaiting test flight.
“In furtherance recognition of our research efforts, the institute has been attracting interest from overseas companies who are seeking to collaborate in the area of UAV development.
“The Brazilian Air Force has given approval for its equivalent of AFIT to collaborate with us,especially in the areas of research ideas and staff development. All these collaborative efforts are geared towards repositioning the Nigerian Air Force for sustained employment of airpower.
“Some state governments have indicated their interest in partnering with the institute towards manpower development for the respective states.” The AFIT boss, however, noted that the research activities being undertaken by the institute come with huge financial implication which had over the years borne out by the Nigerian Air Force alone with its limited resources.
The Air Force Chief then appealed to the president to give his assent to the AFIT Establishment Bill that had since been passed by the last National Assembly to enable the institute to fully operate, pointing out that the AFIT Establishment Act , when passed, would open the institute to greater recognition and funding.
“With adequate funding and political support, we could, for instance develop better operational Unmanned Aerial Vehicle that will find use in pipeline and other powerline monitoring and aerial surveillance; this will ultimately reduce incidents of vandalisation and sabotage thereby enhancing our economic wellbeing.
“The UAV could also be used to enhance internal security through the provision of real time information when effectively deployed in crisis-prone areas,” he added.
A total of 158 students, comprising of personnel of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force as well as civilians would graduate from the MSc,PGD, HND and ND programmes of the institute, according to the Command.