- In the last few years, Nigeria has been making progress in terms of local production
- Soon, the country will get its own first set of helicopters produced locally in Nigeria
- The move is an initiative of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure
- However, the local production of helicopters in conjunction with Belgian company Dynali has yet to commence
The Nigerian government has claimed in a statement that made-in-Nigeria helicopters by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure would be ready soon.
The news sparked a frenzy on social media by Nigerians who are excited about the possibility of the country having its own indigenous helicopters.
However, Legit.ng found that the pictures being bandied on social media (like the one below) are not those of the made-in-Nigeria helicopters as claimed. The production of those has yet to begin because of various factors, including the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pictures online are those of helicopters produced in Belgium by the firm that will work with NASENI to achieve the West African country's dream of producing locally-made aircraft.
The initiative is an arrangement between NASENI and Dynali of Belgium to transfer technology to Nigeria by producing Dynali-style choppers at a plant operated by the agency in Nigeria.
Legit.ng also gathered that Dynali sold nearly 1, 000 fixed-wing ultralight aircraft before starting to develop helicopters. To-date over 100 Dynali helicopters have already been delivered on 6 continents.
A report by the Guardian claims that on the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, the helicopters would be launched officially in Nigeria in December 2021.
The president also directed the NASENI to work towards bridging the gaps in research and technology that keeps Nigeria waiting on other countries for supplies and solutions, especially in tackling challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also challenged the agency to play a more pivotal role in equipping the country during emergencies while encouraging research, upgrading local skills, fabrication, and international collaborations that would provoke growth in science and technology.
Some citizens have been commenting on the announcement by the Nigerian government via social media.
Bello Abdulfattah wrote on Twitter:
“NASENI and the government should give the first Nigeria-made helicopter adequate support needed to grow. With this, we could improve more on it and inspire other innovators in the country to do more. This is great and commendable.”
Efe Onoefe wrote:
“Good development. More of it.”
Abdulfatai Mahmud wrote:
“I will appreciate it more if foreigners are not involved in the production.”
Idris Isyaku wrote:
“Slowly slowly we are moving higher. May God continue to bless Nigeria and Nigerians.”
Meanwhile, some Nigerian Air Force (NAF) pilots are currently in the United States of America to understudy their counterparts in the country on how to effectively fly the Tucano helicopters which will be arriving in Nigeria soon.
The super Tucano is famed for its precision-guided missiles/bombs, and machine guns which military experts say will be deadly for rag-tag criminal elements in Nigeria.
In preparation for its induction into its service, the NAF is already establishing more Forward Operating Bases in the country.
In a related development, the Nigerian government has placed an order of 52 Ezugwu, a locally made Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle to be delivered to the Nigerian Army and deployed to troops in the frontline fighting Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists in the northeast.
The Nigerian-made MRAP is named after Major General Victor Ezugwu, who earned recognition for his efforts to combat Boko Haram extremists. The new vehicle is manufactured in collaboration with the Nigerian Army Command Engineering Depot.