The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has inducted the first indigenous operational unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in a bid to upgrade its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
Built by NAF Aerospace Engineers in collaboration with Portugal’s UAVision, the new drone system, nicknamed Tsaigumi, will be deployed for ISR operations both in land and sea domains.
Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari said: “Indeed, this outstanding accomplishment holds promise of both military and economic benefits to the nation.
“From the military perspective, the added capacity for ISR provided by Tsaigumi UAV would undoubtedly boost ongoing and future security operations.”
According to the NAF, the UAV can be used by the airforce for carrying out policing operations, disaster management, convoy protection, maritime patrol, pipeline and power line monitoring, mapping and border patrol, in addition to wildlife protection, weather forecast, and telecast.
The drone is also capable of carrying out search-and-rescue operations, coastal monitoring, and patrol of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
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In September 2015, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) air marshal Sadique Abubakar ordered the NAF’s research and development team to construct the Tsaigumi UAV for use in the Northeast and other theatres of operation across Nigeria.
The autonomous system has been manufactured at the Air Force Research and Development Centre at NAF Base Kaduna.
Designed to conduct operations during both day and night, Tsaigumi has an operational endurance of more than ten hours, a service ceiling of 15,000ft, and a mission radius of 100km.
The Tsaigumi system is an upgraded and advanced version of the NAF’s previously developed Amebo and Gulma UAV prototypes.
The airforce is currently working on the development of a new Ichoku UAV, which would operate as the first indigenous unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV).