05 March, 2013


altNIGERIA now has a home-grown solution to the menace of Boko Haram after four air force engineers successfully designed an unmanned jet bomber popularly known as a drone used to devastating effect against Al-Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan.

All four officers were flight lieutenants from the Nigerian Air Force School of Engineers, Aircraft Design Centre in Kaduna. Yesterday, they displayed their drone to Professor Ita Okon Bassey-Ewa, Nigeria's minister of science and technology, asking that the credit for breakthrough be given to the commandant of the school and the chief of air staff, pleading that their names not be mentioned.

Their work is the culmination of three years of collaboration with Cranfield University in the UK funded by the federal government. This new drone they have developed can fly non-stop for about four hours at 3,000 feet and comes with a rear empennage of about three metres and a wing span of about half a metre.

It was conceptualised, designed and built in Kaduna under the direct supervision of the provost of the Nigerian Air Force Institute of Technology Professor Emmanuel Ezugwu. All four officers had bagged masters degrees in various fields relating to avionics from Cranfield University after their first degrees from the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna.

One of the officers said: “We designed and built this unmanned air vehicle based on the pressing needs of our country today. The vehicle can be used in pipeline monitoring, border patrol, mapping and disaster monitoring.

"Other areas of use include maritime patrol, aerial surveillance and pest monitoring. This vehicle can fly at 3000 feet and remain airborne for four hours using petrol for now."

Another added: " The first one we built is called Amebo 1 and the second one is Amebo 2, which is an improvement over the first. If we keep getting the right support as we are getting now, we will accomplish our mission for the country.”

He added that over the next five years, there are plans to start building light aircraft. The minister who was in Kaduna attending the National Stakeholders’ Workshop/Exhibition, was shown several other innovations at the event.


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