In its continued efforts at reinforcing a culture of self-reliance, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has successfully reactivated 2 Mugin Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for the training of UAV student operators at its 401 Flying Training School (FTS) Kaduna. The repairs on the UAVs were carried out by the Air Force Research and Development Centre (AFRDC).
The 2 Mugin trainer UAVs became unserviceable about 7 months ago due to inadequate spares and components thereby putting a temporary stop to the ab-initio training of UAV student operators. With the successful reactivation and modification of the Mugin UAVs, the ab-initio training of UAV student operators has resumed in earnest.
Speaking yesterday at the flagging off ceremony for the resumption of UAV flying training in Kaduna, the Chief of Logistics, Air Vice Marshal Sambo Usman, who represented the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, stated that the reactivation of the trainer UAVs would ensure uninterrupted UAV flying training by the NAF. According to him, the NAF had in the past sought for training slots abroad for the training of its UAV operators without any success thus compelling it to look inwards.
The AFRDC was then tasked to select and train UAV operators for the NAF. Since the commencement of the in-house UAV flying training, 9 officers have been trained and subsequently deployed for operational duties. The officers have since then been contributing immensely to the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the North East, conducting both combat and non-combat Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
In a related development, a DO-228 light transport aircraft, NAF 027, which underwent in-country Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM), was also handed over to the NAF today. The reactivation was carried out by Messrs DANA Limited in collaboration with NAF technicians. The local reactivation of both the Mugin UAVs and the DO-228 aircraft resulted in huge cost savings aside from the added value of further building the technical capacity of NAF personnel.