The Nigerian Air Force has said it would deploy drones to secure oil installations in the creeks of Niger Delta.
The service said its recently acquired drones otherwise known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, UAVs, will help secure oil and gas pipelines as well as other critical oil installations in the Niger Delta.
A statement by its Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Vice Marshal Olatokunbo Adesanya, said the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, disclosed this on Friday in Abuja, while playing host to the Managing Director and Country Chairman of Shell Companies in Nigeria, Mr Osagie Okunbor at the Nigerian Air Force Headquarters.
The statement quoted the Air Force boss as saying :”This is to ensure that the maritime domain is safe for social and economic activities by preventing oil-theft, pipeline vandalism, militancy, kidnapping and other forms of economic sabotage thereby helping to sustain the economic lifeline of Nigeria.”
Abubakar noted that, over the years, the NAF had been actively involved in the security of oil pipelines, protection of critical national assets and general safety of the maritime environment. According to him, the recent development of the capability to produce UAVs had enabled the NAF to induct an operational drone named Tsaigumi.
“He further explained that the newly inducted UAV, which has day and night capability, has an operational endurance in excess of 10 hours, a service ceiling of 15,000 feet and a mission radius of 100km.
“The Tsaigumi could also be used for policing operations, disaster management, convoy protection, maritime patrol, pipeline and power line monitoring as well as mapping and border patrol duties”, he added.
Speaking further, the CAS stated that the NAF was ready to partner with Shell Companies in Nigeria to produce more of the TSAIGUMI UAV, an option that would be more cost effective than importing drones from other countries.
He said this would help develop local content as well as save more foreign exchange for the country.