President Muhammadu Buhari has launched Nigerian Air Force Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, known as ‘Taigumi with a warning that modern day wars require such weapon, aside from the conventional air weapons such as missiles, fighters and bombers.
He stressed that the world is witnessing an ever increasing surge in the employment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in military operations, adding that this is because while standard air weapons work against well-defined targets like conventional enemy forces or installations, “they are not as useful in today’s complex wars that are fought against adversaries who are often hidden amongst innocent populations or in locations similarly sensitive or difficult to strike by normal conventional means.”
President Buhari, in a speech before he inducted the vehicle in Kaduna, said that the Air Force Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, ‘TSAIGUMI’, is Nigeria’s first indigenously developed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.
According to him, the significance of this accomplishment as a milestone of national technological development cannot be over-estimated.
“In this regard, I must commend the efforts of the current leadership of the Nigerian Air Force, notably the Chief of Air Staff who is performing his assignments wonderfully well.”
The President explained that the unmanned Aerial Vehicle can loiter and maintain an ‘‘unblinking stare’’ over a chosen area for hours. “Thanks to the ability to ‘‘watch and wait’’, its operator, often miles away, can provide a continuous stream of vital information on enemy activities and if the platform is weaponised, it patiently chooses the best moment to engage.
“Thus the employment of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle capabilities for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and where possible, strike operations significantly increases the chances of success while minimising unwanted collateral damage.”
President Buhari assured of his government determination, despite numerous challenges, to bring about the much-needed CHANGE that will lift Nigeria to its rightful place as a major economic and political force on the world stage.
He said that part of his government’s drive to achieve this goal is to enable enterprise and the improvement of the quality of life through massive improvement of national infrastructure.
“Accordingly, as I outlined in my New Year Day broadcast to the nation, this Administration has designed series of key projects to dramatically overhaul national infrastructure and overcome the deficit in that vital area.”
Buhari stressed that the role of the military as an enabler of national development cannot be overemphasized, as efforts would be futile if national security is not first guaranteed.
“In this regard, let me once more commend the gallant men and women of the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies, for their tireless efforts towards defeating Boko Haram and all other threats to our nation’s security; thus ensuring that the government can proceed with its developmental activity without hindrance.”
The President commended the Nigerian Air Force leadership for the unprecedented feat it has attained on Research and Development.
“I am aware that the Air Force was the overall best in the recently concluded 2017 National Technology and Innovation Exposition under Research Institute category.
“Accordingly, its drive, determination and unwavering support brought about numerous significant innovations, not least of which is the TSAIGUMI which I am inducting today. It is indeed most gratifying that the Nigerian Air Force has gone a step further than simply acquiring them, to developing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle capabilities with indigenous technology. This outstanding accomplishment, which we are gathered today, holds promise of both military and economic benefit to the nation.
“From the military perspective, the added capacity for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance provided by the TSAIGUMI will boost ongoing and future security operations. As this project moves into the next stage, which is mass production, it would create employment and possibly generate revenue as Nigeria’s first military export product.
“The attainment of this technological feat is an indication that there is indeed potential to similarly apply the same innovative mindset to addressing other areas of indigenous technological need. While I commend the Nigerian Air Force for this accomplishment, I enjoin you not to rest on this achievement but to strive harder in your Research and Development efforts for greater innovation. Be assured of this administration’s support towards the attainment of greater technological milestones for our nation.”