The Nigerian Air Force on February 15 inducted Tsaigumi, its first operational indigenous Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle.
The drone, developed and built by NAF engineers in collaboration with UAVision of Portugal, is designed to conduct military ISR missions over land and sea, as well as for search and rescue, policing and wildlife protection operations, disaster management, convoy protection, pipeline and power line monitoring, mapping and border patrol.
Tsaigumi is capable of day and night operations, has an endurance of more than 10 hours, a service ceiling of 15,000 feet and a mission radius of 100km (62 miles). It carries an electro-optic/infra-red camera payload.
President Muhammadu Buhari formally commissioned the aircraft.
“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,’’ Buhari said, urging the Air Force to “strive harder in your research and development efforts for greater innovation.”
— Nigerian Air Force (@NigAirForce) February 15, 2018
It is the second drone built by the NAF but the first operational aircraft. The earlier Gulma UAV prototype has not yet been inducted. A spokesperson said the NAF is working on the Ichoku, which will be Nigeria’s first indigenous armed drone, Vanguard reported.
Nigeria earlier acquired nine Aerostars from Israel’s Aeronautics Defence Systems and a number of armed CH-3s from China.