The National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, has awarded the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) the patent right certificate for local production of hydraulic diaphragm on the Mi-35 helicopter. The certificate, awarded by NOTAP on 29 September 2016, was presented today to the CAS, Air Mshl Sadique Abubakar by the Chief of Standards and Evaluation, AVM SS Bala-Ribah at a brief ceremony held in Abuja.
The NAF, in 2011, had gone into research and development on local production of the hydraulic diaphragm in order to address the increasing difficulties faced in procuring the items from abroad. More so, there was the need to reduce the downtime in maintaining the Mi-35P helicopter fleet because of their critical roles in the counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations in the North East. By 2012, the 3-man team, comprising Air Cdre Imafidor, MWO Moses and Sgt Bawa, recorded its initial breakthrough when it produced the first prototype. This however did not last beyond 4 flying hours after installation on the aircraft. With further research, the team was able to produce other prototypes, and eventually recorded its major breakthrough with the 5th prototype produced in 2013. This lasts more than 150 hours on the aircraft, even more than the one produced by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). It also has the additional advantage of dual application on both the Mi-35P and Mi-24V helicopters unlike the one produced by the OEM which only works on one helicopter type.
The certificate presentation marks a major feat in the research and development efforts by the NAF to achieve technological self-reliance. It is also a plus at this time of economic downturn by saving the nation scarce foreign exchange that otherwise would have been spent if the item were to be procured from abroad.